It’s spring here in the foothills of Mount Shasta. There are a dozen tiny birds that have taken over behind our townhouse, drawn by the food that Fiona insists we put out and the huge oak that grows just outside the fence. They are arguing in high chirping voices this morning.
The tree itself is covered in tiny green buds and silvery droplets of rain.
It has been raining for a couple of weeks and the puddles are deep and the ground is soggy. The sky’s are silvery gray and the inside of my little living room stays dim, even when I turn on all of the lights.
I like spring, in theory. New life, warmth, new growth…
In practice, I often find it depressing. I crave sunshine. I crave the freedom to play in the park, to dig in the garden, to go on walks and picnics. I never feel properly awake on dull, gray days. I want to hole up with a good book. I end up letting Fiona watch too much television. I feel as gray as the weather.
Yesterday, we fought this by going on a walk in the rain. With coats and rubber boots, we went out into the rain.
My girl danced from puddle to puddle, jumping in each. I joined her in a splashing dance through the rain. The silvery wetness of everything seems so much more beautiful when I’m holding her hand.
I think our joy may have been contagious yesterday. Everyone we passed slowed down and wore smiles while they watched us from inside their cars.
Sometimes, I feel like we should go from house to house and invite everyone to come out with us. Come blow dandelion puffs. Come blow bubbles. Come dance in the puddles. Come out to play!
No one plays anymore. The adults all watch passively from beside the playground, or hover protectively, and with embarrassment, over their children. No one gets dirty or wet. They all just look on with indulgent smiles at their youngest children or hurry to stop them with scolding voices.
I’m always acutely aware of Fiona and my strangeness when we play around here. You see, I know that dancing in the rain loses its appeal if you’re doing it alone. It’s still fun, but it loses the magic of being loved and loving and being in-love with life itself. It’s hard to be in-love alone. So I dance with her, and deal with my own embarrassment and frustration with our aloneness.
Some days, though, I want to hold out my hand to the whole world and say, “Come out! Dance with me! This is life! This is love! This is the point! Come on out, the water is grand!”