It has rained three times this summer, at least.
If I lived in New Orleans, or Jamaica, or Mumbai, this would raise no eyebrows, but I live in Los Angeles. In summer, we know hot and dry. We have no acquaintance with rain, not even to nod to on the street. The clouds above, however, must have decided we needed an introduction because this summer, drops have fallen from the sky.
Lately, even when it isn’t raining, the water levitates around us, an unfamiliar resistance in the air when we walk. To our cars, of course. Climate change or no,we must maintain our city’s identity. While it moisturizes my skin and gives life to my hair and makes my workouts more productive, I find the new air pressure difficult to love. It feels as though something is not right.
Right is the wrong word.
Something is not normal.
Earthquake weather, some say, tapping into primitive Los Angeles fears. Climate change, say others, accessing global fears.
Portent, I say, dredging up fears of my own. Something is not normal.
Normal is not a synonym for good, I remind myself. Sometimes normal means only entrenched wrong. Injustice and prejudice and war are normal. That does not make them good.
It feels like the beginning of The Wizard of Oz, seeing the darkening of the sky, knowing that a force of great destruction approaches. Must prepare. Must protect. Must be safe. Go inside.
But I don’t want to go inside. I want to stand on the sidewalk when it rains. The water comes down softly, the drops sometimes large but not fast. It feels like something is trying to bring life back to our dry, cracking land.
Life back to me.
My heart feels dry and cracked, so fragile that any more stress on it will shatter it beyond repair. Perhaps the rain comes to offer solace. It is, after all, a soft rain. This year has not traveled softly. The months bang into one another, all hard edges and sharp corners, each one leaving me with a new scar, no matter where I try to hide. Each wound lets me know that the world deems me the wrong person in the wrong place – too old to be so naive, too tall to be so unsure, too quiet to be worth hearing. As each fresh obstacle slams into my heart, it seems to say, If only you weren’t so…you.
I wanted out of the routine – and then came the rain, about as far from routine as I could hope for.
Portent? Perhaps promise.
Things do not remain forever as they are. Perhaps this is the summer they begin to change. Not just for me. Yes, for me, for good, for better, but not for only. For all. Maybe this is the season for shifting, for shaping, for sharp corners to become smooth curves that redirect us to a path with better scenery.
This could be the time for change to become real, for steps that take us boldly up the mountain instead of always sliding on that one loose rock back down to land on a sharp stick.
I want to see new valleys and smell new flowers and blaze new trails, ones that last and make the journey easier for someone else. I want to do something for real.
It could be.
I’m opening myself to hope, just for this one small moment, as I let the drops fall on my head, praying that the moisture makes its way to my blistered and bruised heart. Just the once, my good sense tells me not to come in out of the rain. Don’t miss this, it says. You’ve kept your eyes closed too long, wishing on a star you can’t remember when you last saw that someone will see you, while you cling to your cloak of invisibility. Perhaps the painful edges seek out the darkness where you hide, and the gentle touches of good wait until you are ready to stand outside and be seen.
All is possible.
This is the summer of the rain.
Kimberly will not come indoors until she is drenched in promise.