When I pulled up to my apartment the rain was just starting, streaking the windshield and fogging my vision. I knew the rain would be cold on my skin and knew also that I would need to embrace its cold or else run screaming like a girl into the house. I stepped out into it and walked slowly around the car and to the stairs...and then stood there. My animal body didn't want to be inside the stuffy house, hot from the last few days of sticky weather and no air conditioning. I stood in the rain and let the sensation of the water and the individual rain drops on my shoulders and face and hair and hands wake me up. I needed to be out in it, part of it, getting soaked to the skin and being wide awake.
And so in my raincoat and Keens and one of the boys' hats, and disregarding the "Are you crazy?" voice, I walked. Just a long walk around a couple of blocks, no marathon, no forced march to prove something - just a joyful exploration of sensation and being alive, fully in this moment and not resistant to it. I wondered what I looked like to the people in the cars, this woman in a bright yellow rain slicker and dark shorts and a cheap hat slogging through the deluge.
This was no simple heavy summer shower or a gentle spring rain, this was a monsoon, sheets of water flung from the bucket of Jack's Giant. The pelting of the water against my chest and belly hidden behind the rain slicker reminded me of just how alive I am, and that all I will ever have is right in this moment, this one right here. And the sound of the rain reminded me that it is in these moments of laugh-out-loud crazy fun (yes, I did laugh out loud all alone in the dim light of the rain) that will make those questions I will inevitably ask as I lie on my deathbed (uh huh, this is what I thought of, too, as I splashed through the puddles) easier to answer: Yes, I lived a full life. Yes, I loved as hard as I could. Yes, I failed miserably over and over but only because I kept trying. And yes, I have regrets - the time I didn't call you, that time I let you get away with something that hurt me, the hours I writhed in grief, the countless moments I spent absorbed in self, the time I forgot to be happy. Yes, I will be sad to say goodbye to this beautiful, tragic, wild world, but I have practiced so many times in my own small way, deep inside my soul, that when I do finally get there, that final goodbye will be just that much easier.