Rain drops on my head
down my neck, shoulders, & back
Just moving on through
Seattlites, and all us other residents along and around the Salish Sea, do not use umbrellas. Tourists do, of course, but we residents have long since taken the presence of rain in the 9-and-a-half-month-long wet season as a given and purchased waterproof coats.
Even so, now and then, something in the look of the sky or the scent on the air tells us to leave the jacket at home. Maybe it’s a little warm out. Or, perhaps, the forecast said there’d be no precip today. For whatever reason, even us seasoned locals end up getting rained on a fair amount. It’s certainly happened, and continues to happen pretty regularly, to me.
A few years ago, though, I noticed something about it. When unexpected rain came, and I heard it on the roof or saw it out the window, I’d feel that familiar, awful, sinking “oh, no!” Then, as I approached the threshold, I’d tense and tighten. Once out in it, I’d rush to get through it, thinking I was somehow minimizing the inevitable wetness by contracting my body. Making myself smaller & faster, I somehow thought fewer drops would hit me, I guess.
Then, one day, the thought rose up that I was going to get wet anyway. I realized that all that tension and resistance and rush was self-imposed. So, I let it go. I let my shoulders settle, opened my chest, and got my head back up on top of my neck where it belonged, and I just walked. Same side walk, same rain drops, same steps, and yet, a completely different experience.
I have since tried and found that this same phenomenon holds true not just for rain, but for snowy cold, muggy heat, or any other fleeting condition–even pain. When infection blooms and from it my body thrums, or the roots of my teeth inexplicably ache right up into the backs of my eyeballs, or my spine lights up with its electric fire, I’ve learned that, like the rain, it just is, and when I let it be and just move on through it, it’s a completely different experience.