Monday, April 20, 2015

"A Fool in the Rain"

I went for my morning walk, as I always do, at 5:30 this morning. In a post some time ago, I referenced my determination to do this, whatever the weather.

This morning, it was raining heavily. People think I am crazy for walking in a downpour. I know this because, as I passed a guy who was getting into his car, he said, "What are you, crazy?"

So, I'm crazy. But, in the wider scope, is walking in the rain really that crazy? I mean, there are people out there who jump out of planes and who swim with sharks off of the Great Barrier Reef. Getting wet is not exactly "extreme" behavior. is a slight defiance of reason, isn't it?

There's even the old expression meant to criticize a person for having no common sense: "He doesn't have the sense to come in out of the rain."

Maybe, though, we need small-and-often defiances of reason more than we need the occasional mad romp.

When Sting released his album of lute songs by John Dowland ("the Renaissance Paul McCartney," I once heard him called) he named it Songs from the Labyrinth. It seems that on one of Sting's estates, he has an old labyrinth. I mentioned it in a similar capacity, here. I also mentioned that Sting said that he sometimes walks the labyrinth by following the winding pathways and he sometimes crosses over them -- deliberately "breaking the rules." He mentioned how mentally freeing it feels to do so...

...likewise, as I walk the little labyrinth of my neighborhood. In the winter, I didn't have the sense to come in out of the cold. In the spring, it's the rain I choose to defy. No one is at risk; it's no great act of civil disobedience; I'm no daredevil. But, let's face it: there's a big sky up there in the morning darkness, full of deep, unseen clouds pouring their rain onto miles of the Earth. There's something cool about being one of the only ants out of the hill when the gutters rush with noise and the good, sensible people are on treadmills or still in bed. There's the feeling of tiny me pushing up against an unimaginably huge Everything. No one sees this; no one cares; but, it feels good.

Life's no stage show. It's life. Maybe defiance, instead of being all dramatic explosions, protest marches and middle fingers, ought to just be a quiet half-hour out in the rain, doing what one's mother told one not to do for so long.

And, you know, it made my morning coffee and snuggle session with my dog, afterward, that much better. Comfort is relative to discomfort, is it not?


  1. When one walks for recreation in the rain, generally there are towels and dry clothes at the other end. When one walks for a purpose beyond the walk--to work, to shopping, to church or school--one often has the prospect of cold damp clothes for an hour or two.

    I don't mind running in the rain, for then of course there is the hot shower and the dry clothes waiting for me. I will say that about the coldest I have ever been is in a cold rain with a steady wind blowing.

  2. You make a very good point about the cold and rain. At a sports event, once, a friend and I decided to be silly when everyone took cover during a downpour and we sat in the driving rain drinking a beer. It was summer -- about 85 degrees. I was SHOCKED by how cold the rain made me. We were shivering within seconds.