After a week of miraculously blue skies, the grey clouds are back, and the threat of rain is imminent. Was that a rainfall warning? Yeah, this is going to be a wet one, my friend. Do I dare say, wild? No, that’s a bit suggestive and highly inaccurate. Wet and wimpy? Sure, for the sake of the obvious and unimaginative alliteration.
Winter in Vancouver is wet, windy, and gloomy. When my alarm went off this morning, I drowsily thought that there must have been a programming malfunction. There was no sunlight or sign of life. I couldn’t see anything out of my window. There must’ve been a mistake or a glitch. Was it really time to get up?
Oh, yes it was, and I grumbled as I reluctantly unfurled myself from my cocoon. It was so warm, comfortable, and peaceful. I didn’t want to go. Alas, it was time to bid ado to my comforter and pillow. Farewell, my precious friend. Until tonight, when we will reunite in balmy slumber.
I don’t handle mornings very well, and if I could bypass them entirely, then I would be very grateful. When I realized that my alarm had, in fact, been correctly programmed? Well, I expressed myself using expletives, odd noises, and I begrudgingly resigned myself to this travesty of time and space.
I said good morning to my dog before stumbling into the kitchen to put on the kettle. There’s only one way to process such calamitous realizations, and that’s a cup of tea. Tea makes everything better and, because I’m trying to be kinder to myself, I made a hot water bottle too. From the top of my head to the tip of my toes! I was going to give myself a reprieve from rejoining the waking world.
While the kettle worked its magic, I went to a window and squinted out into the darkness. The rising sun was doing its best, but the clouds were too thick. All I could see were the grey shadows of an impending storm. The day was going to be wet and, if we’re lucky, a little windy too.
If I was normal in any way, then that thought would’ve set off another string of questionable vocabulary. Mercifully, for those with sensitive dispositions, I am as far from the norm as one can get. I’m among the peculiar few who love the rain and enjoy a good winter storm. I even wrote a love letter to rain a few months ago. If that’s not devotion, I don’t know what is.
Is that strange, odd, or downright weird? Yes, of course, but I haven’t lost the plot or my marbles. I know exactly where they are! They’re just a bit scattered at the moment. Watch your step, I’d hate to see you slip on an errant thought. They’re slippery little monsters.
If my mind is cluttered, full of steam, or in need of good dusting, then days like today are perfect. If my body is tired, dragging, and I just don’t have the energy to exist? Again, this day offers the perfect remedy. It’s a natural cure — well treatment anyway — to chase away the blues, the ho-hums, or the tired sighs.
I should clarify because if one more person tells me that taking a walk will cure my mental ailments, then I might scream. Cure is the wrong word, and I should probably delete it altogether. Or, it gives me the chance to point out that walking in the rain can help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety, for example. It’s one part of a treatment plan that you can discuss with a mental health professional.
There’s no shame in speak up and asking for help! A lot of us struggle so, you aren’t alone, and you don’t have to handle everything in silence. Speaking helps. Help-helps so, ask for it if you need it. Don’t worry, you’ve got this.
For me, days like today can work wonders, and they offer a momentary reprieve from the storm brewing in my mind. It silences my thoughts, stills my racing mind, and it pauses the relentless chatter of an obsessive mind. It’s an almost instant, though momentary, relief, and I need to do it more often.
I always put it off way too long, and I don’t know why I do that. It will help, I know it will, but I find a reason to stay inside. Maybe it’s because its curative properties wear off so quickly, and somedays I have to rinse and repeat a few times before something sticks. Or, it’s the comfortable blanket, a half-drunk cup of tea, and a hot water bottle that’s tingling my toes. They’re just sitting here, waiting for me to wallow in whatever thought, feeling, or traumatic memory my mind digs up.
Staying inside would be easier but, going out into the burgeoning storm will make me feel better. It always does. When I do, I feel like a world of troubles are lifted off my shoulders. I know it will help! Why do I always put it off? Why do I always drag my feet?
I’ve dragged them so long that the rain has broken free and started to fall. It’s a gentle pitter, but it’s bound to intensify. By the look of those clouds to the west (east?) I’d say that we’re in for a dumping. Maybe even a deluge? No, that’s too much to hope for.
The question is, do I wait for it to pick up or do I go out now? The harder rain and the stronger winds are a lot more invigorating. On the other hand, walking through a gentle storm gives me more time to recharge. Then again, there are practical matters to consider.
If I wait until it’s super windy, then my umbrella will be useless, and I’ll get soaked in minutes. If I go now, I won’t get the wind but my umbrella will keep me dry so, I can stay out longer. Decisions. Decisions. What would you choose? Assuming you like long walks on stormy days. Do you wait? Do you go now?
Do you look out your window and decide your safety is more important? Fair point. Don’t go for a walk in a hurricane or any unsafe conditions. That’s probably bad so, stay safe!
Am I dragging my feet again?
You know what? There’s no time like the present. I can’t wait anymore. I’ve never been good at waiting for anything. Last week I went to get my flu shot, and I had to wait ten whole minutes. They were very busy and incredibly polite, professional. Everyone was doing the best they could so, I waited quietly.
Internally, I wanted to check the time every two minutes. Externally, I tried to exude patience because adding to their stressful day was just not cool. I paced back and forth, I couldn’t help myself, but I told them I needed to get my steps in because that’s a thing.
Then I reorganized a display case, you’re welcome. Though, I’m not sure they’ll appreciate my efforts when they see it. Sorry? In my defence, I can’t sit and wait quietly. It’s not in my genetic make-up. I think, in my programming, there’s a fidgeting sequence that’s triggered every time I find myself in a holding pattern.
How do people sit still? I’ll never understand it!
Right now, I’m putting myself on hold and asking my body to wait in line. If I hand myself a form to fill out, well we might have a problem.
Waiting for the wind to pick up will take too long so, it’s time to bundle up in oversized everything and step outside. The layers will keep the chill down, but it leaves enough room for the crisp air to do its thing. Let’s go. Let’s do this. Out the door I go, and oh yeah, that feels good.
I inhale deeply and feel the cold air travel down my throat and sting my lungs. I shiver, but my body is starting to wake up. My brain is relaxing. I can’t think about anything, and that’s a welcome change.
My apartment building is surrounded by trees, and trails run through them. Over the last few months, I’ve been very grateful for these trails and trees. I can get out, move my body, and get fresh air without risking public exposure. It’s a gift! Having a safe place to go, commune with nature, and shake off the cabin fever. I need the trees, the wind, and the rain as much as I need food, shelter, and a good cup of tea. It keeps me ground and sane — ish.
Out here, a few steps from my front door, I can look up at the treetops and listen to the drops of rain hitting the leaves. A gentle breeze sets them off in a rustling wave. A crow yells at the wind to cut it out and then flies off in a huff. I can still hear the cars and a truck just laid on the horn. Those noises are muted, and they seem far away.
A lot of things feel far away right now. My frustration, and annoyance at the way people are behaving. The callousness and the cruelty of the human mindset. The disposability of a single life and the angry mob that deems them worthless. My anger at how we treat each other, but also how hard these last few months have been for all of us.
I’m tired! We’re all tired. We all want our lives back. Will we ever get back to normal?
Standing under the trees, typing these thoughts onto my phone, those feelings and frustrations are off to the side. They aren’t gone, and now that I’ve given them a bit of attention, they’re festering again. Look up at the trees, listen to the rain, and there they go, off to the side.
I don’t care that this is a fleeting moment. Right now, typing these words in the rain, I feel a hint of pure happiness because I feel content. I’ve let the troubles of life fall away. I’ve released my tightly clenched jaw and my clenched fists. Those things will come back but, for now, I can be here, be still, and be present in this feeling.
Oo, a raindrop just slid past my oversized everything’s and down the back of my neck. That’s cold! One of those creative words just slipped out, and now my dog is giving me a dirty look. Have we been standing still too long? Have you run out of twigs to pee on?
Okay, it’s time to head back inside. I still have things I need to do, but the break was nice, and I need to do this more often. Why do I put it off or give in to the excuses? If I’m really trying to find my happy, then I need to listen to my body, give my mind a break, and give myself more of these simple moments.