It’s Monday again, which normally wouldn’t be the greatest thing ever but if it means we’re one day closer to being done with this crappy weather, then I’ll take it. First off, let me start by saying that it has been raining for… EVER… thanks to Tropical Storm Debby, who has been moving north up the entire state at a snail’s pace, spreading her gloom and ruining outdoor plans left and right. Tornado warnings? We’ve had ’em. Flood threats? You bet. It just seems that if it keeps up, this sunshine state will have to come up with a new nickname.
With boating plans ruined Friday, and Saturday spent sleeping off a hangover, going to the gym, and then going out for dinner… Sunday had to bring a little change. But with torrential downpour and tropical storm-force winds in the forecast, what could we possibly do?
Clean. Laundry. Watch TV. Blahhhh.
Even with the blinds open, the apartment was dark and gray, and as Tim watched golf and simultaneously checked the weather forecast and open tee times every five minutes, praying to cure his cabin fever, I numbly pulled laundry from the dryer and began to fold, thinking sad thoughts about a few unpleasant things that had happened in the past week and dwelling on the fact that they were things I could not change, nor erase from my memory. From the laundry basket I pulled out one large blanket… then another. Suddenly my thoughts shifted. My proverbial light bulb blinked on, and I went to work immediately, constructing a fort out of our dining room table, four chairs, and the freshly washed blankets. I pulled a few pillows from the couch and promptly found my place under the fort, abandoning the rest of the unfolded laundry and basking in the glory of my inner child’s creation.
Moments later, he joined me (as did both dogs, who seemed to delight in the game), and we laid there on our backs, staring at a sticker that said “MADE IN MALAYSIA,” and discussing the forts we built as kids, the rooms we imagined within them, and how we could spend hours underneath a table with a few simple props and our imagination. It made my heart weary to think of how much energy we expend thinking about money and bills and our jobs, what clothes we wear and what gadgets we need to be happy, and how little we really do need to be happy. We had spent all morning moping about the weather and feeling sad and sorry for ourselves, and then thought, what would our childhood selves have done for entertainment had it rained relentlessly all weekend? Tim’s answer: “We went outside anyway.” I smiled as I imagined him as a muddy-kneed 6-year-old running around the neighborhood in the rain with his four siblings. And I smiled as I remembered my sister and I, donning our swimsuits and collecting a few plastic cups before running barefoot out into the summer rain, filling our cups at the gushing downspout and enjoying a good old-fashioned water-fight. Life was simple, but so grand.
So what were we doing under the fort when there was fun to be had outside on this glorious rainy day?
We quickly pulled on our swimsuits, gathered a few towels, hopped into the car and headed to the beach. The sand was warm and wet and the air cooler than usual. The rain had let up a little, but was still there, though barely noticeable amidst the sea spray and the sand that pelted our skin when picked up by gusts of wind. The current was too menacing to venture out too far, and Lord only knows what the storm had stirred up in the water, so I promptly dropped to my knees in the sand and began to dig. To my utter amazement, Tim, in all of his family vacations to the beach over the years, had never built a drip castle, so of course we needed to do it immediately!
We spent a good 45 minutes digging and dripping, finding buried treasures in our well and decorating our castle with them, forgetting about the unfolded laundry, the dishes in the sink, and what bills would arrive in the coming week. Soon the wind picked up and sand blew into our eyes. More rain was coming, and the tide encroached, threatening our castle walls. We contemplated kicking it over, filling in the well, flattening what we had built up, but we knew too well that the sea would take care of that for us, and that tomorrow, or even in just a few hours, there would be no sign that we had been there, our treasures would again be buried, and the sand would again be flat and firm.
What all started with a silly, rainy day fort constructed out of boredom and a few questions about our childhood selves served to stir up some bigger questions and even bigger answers. Why does “growing up” have to mean losing our sense of adventure, our sense of silliness, of playfulness and spontaneity in the more grown up qualities of stability, responsibility, and preparedness? Why do we let this happen? And perhaps an even more profound lesson came from the sand and the sea… when we dig our holes, why do we insist on digging, building, scraping, and continuing to think about and obsess over the hole long after the tide has come and washed it away, giving us a perfect clean slate, a smooth surface upon which to build something new, something better?
Today, I’m taking a deep breath. I’m forgetting about the unpleasant things that happened last week over which I lost too much sleep, and thanking God for my strength to survive them and move past them. I’m recognizing the solid ground beneath my feet, and thanking God that, though it was once broken and riddled with holes, it’s now fresh and ready for building again. And I’m reminding myself to keep my adventurous spirit, my inner child, my happiness against all odds, and my sense of humor, for myself, and for my husband, for whom I thank God every single day…
even especially when it rains.