“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”
—  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Yesterday’s forecast included some rain.  It was supposed to start in the late afternoon, fall overnight, and taper off by morning.  We waited.  The sun set, and still there was no rain.  Night fell, and still the streets were dry.  Not until the middle of the night, when I heard it pelting the window by my bed, did the storm finally arrive.  There is nothing quite so soothing as sleeping to the sound of rain.  My bed feels twice as cozy and my blankets twice as warm when I imagine how chilly I would be if I were out in the cold, wet night.

My gratitude for the rain’s lullaby began to fade as morning arrived.  When I came downstairs, I could still hear the insistent drumming of a downpour on the roof and windows.  What a cold, damp morning!  What a great day to stay inside and enjoy the shelter of my home.  Just as I settled into the renewed cozy feelings, I was greeted by Patches, my cocker spaniel grand-dog and morning walking companion. ‘Maybe he didn’t get the memo about the rain,’  I thought as he leaped and nuzzled at me and did his “time for a walk” dance all around me.  I sat at my computer and prepared to start typing.  He flipped his snout under my right elbow and threw my arm away from the keyboard.  The look of anticipation in his eyes was more than I could bear.  “Come on,” I said to him, “let’s get your leash.”  I put on my giant yellow coat, the one my kids call the school bus, slipped on my new rain boots, and headed toward the door

Patches danced all around me and barely could contain his energy long enough for me to fasten the leash to his collar.   ‘As though we need another rain dance,’ I thought as I opened my umbrella and stepped out into the morning.  Off we splashed to the park for our usual morning trek.  We arrived at the far reaches where Patches can shed his leash and explore, and he immediately headed for the biggest puddle he could find.  He splashed, he jumped, he stuck his nose in the water, he caught rain in his mouth  with his head tilted toward the sky.  I don’t know the origin of the word, “spaniel,” but I have a feeling it must have something to do with water.  As the puppy’s thick winter fur became soaked with the rain and the splashing, his true shape was revealed.  It was as though the rain itself transformed his lazy winter demeanor and made him perky and muscular and lively, just as he had been when he wore his summer coat.

As I watched him splash and run and play, I thought of my children and the way they loved to go puddle-jumping after a summer storm.  I remembered my own childhood and the delight I took in dancing in the rain and letting it call me to being fully alive.  When do we become so old that we forget the delight of walking in the rain?  When do we begin to place judgments on the weather and forget to enjoy the world in all of its amazing variations?  As we headed for home, I looked down at my feet.  I realized that my new rain boots had kept my feet toasty and warm and dry.  ‘Cool!’ I thought, and I skipped a few steps and jumped, all in, into a puddle.  Patches gave me a surprised look, and I found myself laughing out loud.  I lowered my umbrella, turned my face to the sky, and caught some rain on my tongue.  Sweet.