My roommates exclaim "creepy!" every time they hear the wind blow against my bedroom window.
"It sounds like a dead mother calling for her child! How do you stand it?"
I like it. I like the rain. I like the wind. I like the storms.
Some look at the rain as depressing. A soggy reminder that the rain comes down and the floods do indeed come up. They curse their wet hair and soaked shoes and shake their fists at the gray sky demanding that the sun come out again. They ring out their umbrella's and dry off by the fire not even realizing the magic happening as they yell for the kids to stop jumping in the puddles.
I have jumped in puddles. I still jump in puddles. I love puddles.
The fun of muddy puddles and overflowing ditches was shown to me when I was twelve. A little old to be getting my clothes wet, you might think.
I had just moved to a more rural area in western Washington. I had come from the crime-infested "hood" if you will, and knew better than to go walking by myself. I was allowed to ride my bike a total of maybe ten yards. Always in the front of the house. Always where mom could see me. Boundaries. Mostly, I just stayed in the back yard and used my over active imagination there. In this new place, however, our tiny house was surrounded by woods. And there was no such thing as sidewalks. I made a friend at church and she decided to show me around the neighborhood.
Ali was a big girl with a big attitude. She could intimidate you with one look. And man, was she boy crazy. Skipping through streets I didn't know scared me to death, but I felt an unspoken protection from Ali. She talked about boys and girls and the scandalous middle school we were about to start. She knew all about boy bands and make up and even shaved her legs. And whoa- did she have a chest! I, on the other hand, had not even begun to think about this stuff and was suddenly aware of what it meant to be a "carpenter's dream."
I tried my best to act grown up and mature. Nodding with a look of "I knew that" every time she referenced a song off of the Hanson CD I still didn't have. We were strutting our way to her house to call boys and (hang up on them), when it started to rain. I think I said something about my new Sketchers getting wet, when all of the sudden Ali leaped into the overflowing ditch. She just jumped in. She started splashing around and sitting down and letting the water carry her. I stood in shock. What was she doing? That water is gross. That ditch is grosser. And there is road kill six inches away from floating with my oversized friend.
"Come on," she shouted, "haven't you ever jumped in puddles?"
No. Nor would my mother ever allow me to. Nor did I ever want to.
"Of course, all the time."
And I did a half cannonball jump into the nearest ditch. The water was cold and my socks were heavy... It was the best feeling in the world! I set down my umbrella and took off my hood. Ali and I spent the rest of the afternoon jumping and splashing in silence. Each of us with a grin that only a twelve year old could have. We weren't worried about getting sick- all the better- that meant we could skip school. We weren't worried about our clothes. We weren't worried about make up or boys or bras or school or finances or cars or jobs. Just how high we could splash. Or who could get to the next puddle fastest. When we finally got to Ali's house we threw our clothes in the dryer and watched Full House until my sketchers smelled like dryer sheets. Ali's mom made us hot chocolate and I think we fell asleep. Dreaming of nothing but wholesome twelve year old things. Puddles and rain. No boundaries.
Today, I find myself worried about all sorts of things. But today, make up, boys, school, bras, finances, cars and jobs are all valid things to press on my twenty year old mind. Stressed and tired, I had been cooped up in my apartment studying for a test. The dead mother outside calling for me all afternoon.
On my way to campus I saw a puddle. A marvelous lake outside my oh-so-mature-apartment complex.
And there I went. I jumped. Half cannonball style. A grin that only a woman could have when revisiting her twelve year old self. The water was cold and my socks were soggy. But man alive was it worth every drop.
And I realized, that dead mother wind outside my window? She's not dead at all. In fact, she's very much alive. I was dead. Dead in the books in my own "organization." She's a living mother- of spontaneity, love and courage. And she calls to her dead children to jump in a puddle and feel alive again.