"Damp and Gloomy"
- rain in the wilderness -
Normally at this time of year the skies are crystal blue, the sun is shining and the temperatures are in the low 70’s. It is the kind of “almost perfect” weather here in the desert that makes people from all around the world want to come out and spend a few weeks here in the middle of winter - but today it was different.
Today I woke up to a Monday morning that was rainy, cold and damp and my first tendency was to feel somewhat depressed by it all. Mondays are bad enough but a cold and gloomy rainy-day Monday when its “supposed” to be warm and sunny was a bit too much for me. So I closed the shades on my bedroom window, pulled up the covers and decided to go back to sleep – maybe when I got up again the rain will have stopped? It was then that I suddenly realized what I may be missing by hiding away inside my house. After all, it's almost always sunny here and I rarely get to experience rain in the wilderness, so I decided to open the shades, get out of bed and pay attention to it all.
I am reminded of something I once read in one of my books of Buddhist essays:
Today it’s raining, think of the possibilities!
On a day like this you might see red, yellow or green traffic lights
beautifully reflected in puddles and on wet pavement.
You might see raindrops hanging from a railing or an overhead wire.
You might see two people holding hands
as they walk in the rain under a bright green umbrella.
As you sit inside on a rainy day look for the soft shadows and muted colors.
You might even sit and look at the world through the raindrops on a window
and see the landscape in a new way through odd-shapes rainbow lenses.
This morning as the rain fell on this dank and gloomy day, I put on a coat, got out an umbrella and walked outside onto a nearby trail. It was all quite beautiful - the green bushes set against the muted light of mountains shrouded in mystic clouds, the gentle sounds of raindrops falling into puddles on the ground, the spicy smell of the dry desert soil soaking up the refreshing rain. I had walked on that trail many times before but now I was looking at everything in a new and different way, looking at life from a new lens, and I almost missed it all by hiding under the covers. The falling rain on a Monday morning turned out to be a great gift.
The gift of this morning’s rain taught me once again to be more alert and to pay closer attention to life as it comes to me, always open to all the beautiful surprises it has to offer. It also reminded me me that, even when stuff happens in life that you don’t particularly want to happen, these unwanted moments may also offer unexpected gifts. I certainly can’t control the weather or make the rain go away, so why not simply enjoy it?
I find great wisdom in something Eckhart Tolle once said:
Whatever the present moment contains,
accept it as if you had chosen it.
Always work with it, not against it.
Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.
Say yes to life and see how it suddenly starts working for you
rather than against you.
It’s raining in the wilderness and I am looking at the desert through the odd-shaped rainbow lenses of the raindrops that have formed on my window.
Think of the possibilities.