It’s raining today. It’s been a very dry spring, and this is the first rainy morning in a long time. I like the rain. And I love to run in the rain. It really is one of my favorite things to do. It makes me feel like a kid again.
Running in the rain is freeing, and fun! It is an opportunity for me to let go of everything. There are no worries about getting wet, ruining my shoes, ruining my hair, and I am instantly transported back to a much simpler time.
When we were young, we never cared about the rain. It didn’t stop us from doing anything. We played kickball in the street in the pouring rain, football on our neighbor’s front lawn, manhunt all over the neighborhood on our bikes. We went to the park and found other kids playing in the rain. We started hide and seek games with those new found friends, looked for the driest places to hide, shushing and giggling all the while. We stomped in mud puddles, splashed each other, and went home soaked and filthy and exhausted from the sheer fun of it.
So this morning, I found myself running in the rain. Letting my mind wander from one thing to the next to nothing at all. Feeling free and having fun.
Towards the end of the run I was passing “Redstone Park”. We call it that because the only two benches in that park are memorial benches that we donated. Each has a plaque on it. One is dedicated to my dad, and the other to John’s mom. We go down there and sit from time to time. We walk and drive by almost every day. I always look to see if anyone is sitting there as I pass.
Today as I was running towards it I noticed an elderly man standing behind Mom’s bench. He looked to be in his mid to late seventies. As I got a little closer I saw him pick something up. It was a kettle bell. Then he got himself into some sort of modified Warrior 3 pose, and started lifting the kettle bell in one hand.
I have never taken a kettle bell class before, never really wanted to. But seeing this elderly gentleman next to Mom’s bench, in a modified yoga pose, out in the rain made me very happy. So I flashed him a big smile and I waved. He smiled back, a genuine smile, and waved at me.
I kept running. Only a few paces ahead I realized that something inside of me was telling me to run back there and ask him what he was doing, ask him to show me how to do it, ask if I could join him.
But I kept running. And then I thought about how when we were kids, we would just walk up to other kids and say “Whatcha doin?” or “Hi! What’s your name?” or “Can I play with you?” And how, along the way, we lose that. It gets buried under so much crap; our fear of strangers, our own insecurities, our mental modifications.
If running in the rain is freeing and makes me feel young again, then maybe walking right up to this gentleman and starting a conversation might’ve made me feel young and free again too. And what would it have done for him? Maybe it would have made his day?
I should have run right over there. I should have said “Hi! Whatch doin’? Can you show me how to do it? Can I join you?” That might have been awesome. Of course, he might have said “Get the hell out of here, lady?” or “What are you some kind of crazy person?”
I’m not crazy… I just love to run in the rain. I love to skip. I love to dance like a maniac, and sing at the top of my voice. And I will continue to take every opportunity I can to be childlike. Fun, and free.
So, if I ever see him again, I am going to stop. And I’ll say “Hey! That looks like fun. Can I try?”