Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On Riding in the Rain

When I was young, I knew how to let things go.

And it was liberating.

Whatever happened to that girl?

I remember fondly weekends when the skies opened up and torrents of rain made raging rivers out of the gutters in front of our house.  Across the street, sunken valleys in the sidewalk filled and became lakes.  On very special days like this, with all other modes of entertainment exhausted, my little sister and I were permitted to ignore the usual rule of staying dry.

And so we shed our inhibitions and became water nymphs.

Barefoot and free, we ran into the pouring rain fully clothed, prepared to get as soaking wet as possible.

And so we did.

We would jump in the sidewalk lakes, splash through every puddle like our lives depended on it, and sit ourselves down in the gutter rivers.  We would dance and twirl as the drops cascaded down on our young heads; believeing that were the richest girls in the world to have a life such as this.  Who cared that we were getting drenched?  Awaiting us inside were towels and warm dry clothes.

I miss those days.

What brought this memory on?

I found myself this past Saturday taking my bike down the familiar paths of the Bear Creek Trail.  I'd eaten far too many cinnamon bread sticks from Gumby's the night before and was determined to get this ride in even though dark rain clouds loomed ahead.

Let me tell you a little about the world of the forest on this day.

It was as if it everything was heaving deep sighs of relief and contentment.  From months of drought to nearly a whole day of rain-every facet of nature found itself coming upon a brimming oasis after months of trudging through the desert.  Green abounded and the whole world was dripping.

I high-fived the trees as I rode.  They deserved it for hanging in there.

I stopped along the bridges to watch the long dry creek beds babble along with newly supplied water.  I  imagined the dance of life going on under the surface.

I made it a point to speed through every puddle created in the potholes of the trail, drenching my feet and kicking up mud everywhere.

And every time I did, I smiled and the child in me emerged.  My legs were soon speckled with muck and my shoes were soaked through.  And I felt liberated.    

About halfway along my ride, a drizzle began.

That drizzle became heavier until it was a steady downfall.

What did I do? I rode on.  Felt the drops against my face, wetting my shirt and pants and immediately cooling as the wind rushed past.

Instead of feeling uncomfortably wet or frustrated by the change in weather, I felt refreshed.


And it was one of the best experiences of my summer.

Who cared that I was getting dirty and wet?  At home, dry clothes and a shower awaited.

Sometimes we have to learn to let go.

Because in truth, a lot of the rules in our lives that cause anxiety, strife, and discomfort are ones created by the world and not ourselves anyway.

We all need days to kick off our tight and constricting shoes.  We need to walk barefoot in the mud, jump fully clothed into lakes, ride in the rain, and let nothing stop us from doing what it is we want to do.

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