Ode to Playing in the Rain
The grass is so green it makes my eyes hurt.
I want to take off my shoes (now I remember why I never wear heels), and go run around in the rain. I know that feeling of wet grass on my toes so well — when’s the last time you felt it?
In my twirly dress I’m wearing, I want to pop up on one toe and spin around really fast, like a cartoon ballerina, and then run and run and run until I get a stitch in my side.
I want to laugh and open my mouth to catch raindrops, without worrying about chemical rain.
I want to jump into puddles that splash up around me like Marilyn Monroe’s white dress.
I remember my junior year in college, one of the first times I met several boys who went on to be great friends of mine, we went mud-sliding. One night, around 1am, our campus was getting doused with rain. My friend Andy and I decided to go romp around (because why not) and his roommates, Drew and James, came along. We drove over to this big field, and sought out the biggest puddle there. Bracing ourselves like bulls at Pampalona, we ran, sprang onto our stomachs, and whooshed through the water like it was one giant Slip ‘n’ Slide made of mud. It was dark and everyone kept bumping into each other, which then, once Andy discovered I was light enough to easily pick up, it became a game to run up behind me, scoop me up, and then basically (yet gently) body-slam me into the nearest pile of mud. I retaliated by rubbing fistfuls of dirt in his hair.
Earlier that day, it had been raining when I got out of class. This was the semester I was barefoot 95% of the time, so I delightedly sped out into the waiting, watery world. I skipped and jumped, laughing because nothing is ever quite so much fun as allowing yourself the abandonment and freedom of succumbing to a rainstorm. Most people around me were hurrying, trying to run between the raindrops, worrying about getting wet. I wanted to walk slower just to enjoy the feeling of raindrops sliding down my cheeks and arms. I looked over and to my absolute delight, I saw a guy doing just the same thing. With his shoes hanging from his hand, he walked slowly and deliberately, choosing puddles to jump in, and tilting his faces towards the generous clouds.
The only thing that made this moment better was that I remember I had my iPod on and I was listening to Iron and Wine’s “Love and Some Verses.”
I never want to be so caught up in work and reality and “adult” life that I stop playing in the rain. I never want to use an umbrella unless absolutely necessary. I never want to cease being in wonder at this world we find ourselves in and at the people in it who make it so extraordinary.
So go slip off your shoes and remember what damp grass feels like. Look for the best puddle you can find and have contests with a friend as to who can make the biggest splash. Whatever’s on your iPhone or Twitter or TV or Playstation isn’t important and will be there later.
Go play in the rain.