What do you call two straight days of rain in New England?
What do you call three straight days of rain?
A holiday weekend.
We’ve had almost a month of rain in much of New England and virtually every person I run into, including myself, has felt the need to comment on this unfair phenomenon on an hourly basis.
Mother Nature teased us through much of June and now into July—even when a day starts out sunny, one stubborn cloud seems to eventually appear and downpour when we least expect it, like rain clouds follow Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. (Poor Eeyore—he just never had a good day even surrounded by his adorable friends in the 100-Acre Wood.)
Rain can make us, too, become Eeyores. I’ve seen it in the last month—people are more tired than usual, complaining regularly, and on edge—all because of a few feet of water pouring down over our heads. I have heard more than one person in the last week make a joke about buying a sunlamp, insisting they have seasonal affective disorder. Others are complaining about how their summer vacations have been ruined due to rain.
Poor weather can put us over the edge, adding more strife to significant worries we carry on a day-to-day basis. Many people have good reason to be negative—we are human, after all, and we experience grief, loss, anger, frustration, and other tough emotions. We all have our own crosses to bear and life situations to navigate. So some of us have good reason to hang out on the negative end of the scale for a while, sometimes days, sometimes longer.
But with all that life has to offer, especially for those of us in the Western world, how can we really complain about something as insignificant as rain? There are millions of people throughout the world experiencing struggle and suffering on a daily basis, whether it’s because they live in a region of great poverty or disease or a country experiencing generations of war and genocide. For these individuals, life is hard. Every day.
But for many of us, who don’t experience physical trauma, political oppression, or the pains of malnutrition on a daily basis, life is straightforward, relatively speaking. We don’t face life or death issues every day and we have free will to choose how we want to live our lives. We live in feathered nests compared to much of the world.
So, as we cling to our umbrellas for some possible showers on the fourth of July, feeling a tiny bit of hope for the not-half-bad forecast, we must remember that today is Independence Day. We must celebrate our freedom and honor those who helped get us here. Today, we are exempt from much of the suffering that exists in the world. So let’s enjoy this dry, present moment and whoop it up.
In the great words of Zora Neale Hurston, “I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands.”
Are you on your mountain? Pull out your harp and play.