Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rainy Days Aren't All Gloom and Doom

If you watch a news wire, listen to cable news, or do the social networking, you know that atrocities are occurring endlessly in the world on both a large and small scale. So to some people it may seem frivolous for me to be writing about walking with a loyal dog or fighting the personal battles with the advances of old age. Well, this blog is my refuge. It is 100 percent politics-free and mostly drama-free. Along the way, I hope to offer some insights, rays of hope, maybe even occasional inspiration. But whatever else this place is, it is my refuge.

So today I am going to make a controversial and highly unpopular observation.

I love the rain.

I am fascinated with storms.

One blistering sunny day after another is not the summer ideal for me. Give me a day like today: Huge billowy cumulus clouds making possible only occasional periods of sunshine, with showers ranging from light to torrential soaking the earth every hour or so.

Okay, I know the trouble this kind of weather poses on so many fronts. Families spend hard-earned money hoping for a solid week of sun at the beach. I feel for them, and can only hope they've found joy in hopping from beach to sheltered venues (such as the watering spots and shops along our beautiful new boardwalk) and back to beach again. You can get some exercise in the process. Also, the kids will love the aquarium.

I also see on the front page today Gov. Nikki Haley's observation that the daily torrential rains are inflicting a heavy toll on area farmers and their crops, with damage perhaps as devastating as a hurricane, though not as visible. I recognize that after recent years of drought, farmers are hurting from an excess of rain, and I regret that. We all will when we pay the price at the supermarket.

Still, I cannot escape the reality that rainy days often are balm for my soul. When we departed for our honeymoon, we left our car in the airport parking lot. It rained for a week, and when we returned, the rice that people had thrown at us as we left the church had sprouted in our car. So for that and a lot of other reasons, I regard rain as a harbinger of good luck. Our marriage now is just a month shy of lasting 47 years.

Many of my most memorable walks have been in rainstorms, gentle or strong, or with snow falling or crunchy on the ground. Certainly in the middle of a torrid South Carolina summer, Superdawg and I appreciate those walks that start sunny but progress into a refreshing shower or mist. A famous quote by author/entrepreneur Vivian Greene comes to mind: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass . . . It's about learning to dance in the rain."  (www.viviangreene.com)

Then there is the sense of adventure and discovery that storms sometimes bring. Driving home from Georgetown on Monday, I was caught in one of those pop-up systems along the coast when the heavens just seem to open up with rain coming in super-sized buckets rather than droplets.

 Creeping along the road through Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet, I could barely see the highway. Finally, upon pulling off in a cove near the Waccamaw Community Hospital,  I spotted a medical clinic that advertised certified, therapeutic massage. I went in for refuge from the storm, and information, and found that they had an opening for a walk-in. For 30 minutes, I received a most refreshing, stress-reducing massage of shoulders, neck, and back -- and then not neglecting the surgically replaced knee (though more gently with it) and the knee that's not yet been replaced but may eventually need to be. Long story short, the brief therapy put a soothing touch on the sometimes-painful rehab I have been doing for the past four months. It greatly eased the pain I had been feeling lately in the non-repaired knee.

It was a discovery that may be helpful going forward. And it would not have happened without the rain.

© Robert G. Holland

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