My desk sits next to the window, in a corner of my bedroom. I sit there, day after day, watching the news and waiting for the rain The Weather Channel says we’re going to get that day. Nearly every day, I’m disappointed. Please, don’t get me wrong. I love sunshine and clear days; but where I live in Florida is starting to become dangerously dry and my county has reached the worse drought level ever in the eleven years that I’ve lived down here. We need that rain.
However, I go out for lunch and while standing in line I hear some spunky teenager complain that the forecast for this weekend is going to ruin her plans. Really? You’re that important that Mother Nature has to plan around you? I don’t think so. Instead of saying what was on my mind to both girls, I stopped myself. I was like that once. I think we all were. So instead of mild irritation, I was amused enough to laugh softly while I was thinking back on some great summers and what the rain meant.
Some of my best memories were of quick summer showers that soaked everything down really well, made a lot of mud and left with out so much as a “How do you do?” and “Thank you, don’t mind if I pass on by.” These showers in the oppressive heat of June in Southwest Michigan were enough to take the humidity out of the day. So much so that if you didn’t have air conditioning, which we didn’t, you at least stopped sniping at your brothers long enough to sit down and have dinner. At least, until the urge to bean your little brother in the head with a Brussels sprout came back after he said something snotty. I had to fight that urge a lot, especially since I was the oldest of three.
The only time I really had gripes about the rain was when I was forced to come inside for a thunderstorm. I didn’t understand it at the time, but I never wanted to come in when the thunder and lightning was rolling over head. I would throw such a fit. “But Mooooommm.. It’s only rain!” I’d shout at my mother who would usually be standing in the door way telling me to get my ass inside and to not make her come out there. Really, if Mom had to come outside to get you, your butt was usually tanned and then grounded by the time you got inside. Once inside, I’d sit at the window and try to stare down the rain, willing it to go faster so I could get back outside. It just wasn’t fun inside during the summer. You couldn’t pretend you were a pirate burying treasure on a rain-soaked island while you were inside.
As I grew older and moved away from Southwest Michigan, the rain started to become an inconvenience when it rained out my plans to window shop at the outdoor malls or go hiking. Teenager and early Twenties, the rain became something to bemoan if I had to drive in to work because no one really remembered how to drive in South Florida in the rain. If you couldn’t see the road in front of you, how were you supposed to avoid an accident? Horns honking, people flipping you off, all because you were going thirty-five miles and hour on the highway and had your hazard lights flashing.
However old I get, I keep coming back around to June and summer rain. This year, we really could use it to water the grass. West Palm Beach, the town about ten miles to the East, is under such severe water restrictions that they could run out of water by next week. When I said that we really needed the rain down here, I meant every word. When I said that I loved and was annoyed by the rain and all it brought, I meant that too.
It didn’t stop me from rolling my eyes at the teenagers in front of me while I was getting my sandwich though.