Israel Series, Spring 2016
It’s cloudy in Ein-Karem, Israel, today. The sun is taking some time to regenerate after a few days of intense work, leaving us with enough energy behind to face this coldish day. Rainy weather somehow does something with my soul. It opens up a space within me.
I remember sitting outside on my little garden chair as a child, eating cookies and hearing the sound of raindrops falling onto my yellow umbrella. When I close my eyes, I can still see the excitement in my mom’s eyes as she breathes in deeply, taking in the fresh, grassy scent and with it the joy in her voice that would also pass on to me. In the heat of a South-African summer, rain was a real blessing, cooling the hot air down and making dry land green again.
Oftentimes, we would use the opportunity to go swimming in the school’s pool down the street, being super excited about swimming in the rain until the first flash of lightening would strike the sky, forcing us to rush out of the water as fast as possible. Once the clouds had emptied themselves Mom would say: “Now everything feels new again.” It never occurred to me that rain was not liked by everyone in the world.
It never occurred to me that rain was not liked by everyone in the world.
Moving to Germany where it rained more often, it was also liked a lot less. In fact, rain in Germany (and maybe other parts of the world, too?) can be used as common ground for moaning. If you by incidence bump into someone you know but aren’t close with, “bad weather” (synonym for rain) quickly becomes a way to small-talk. You start the conversation complaining about the rain and your dialogue partner of course agrees with you, as he or she is equally affected by this natural event. It’s a great conversation topic for a short interaction. Formula: moaning together = connecting?
I think about this as I sit on a rock declaring the rain to come. I wonder, if by the time I feel the first rain drop on my head, I will have enough time to run back to St. Vincent to collect my laundry fast enough, which is hanging out to dry. The wind blows through my hair, I wait with anticipation. I hear the birds chirp as they, too, will soon go in hiding. The streets are emptying themselves as the people of Ein Karem are seeking comfort in their homes. I imagine them sitting inside their limestone houses covered in colourful quilts, sipping on cups of hot cocoa and tea.
I wonder what the town’s yoga instructor is doing this very moment, as a Facebook comment she posted earlier comes to mind: “Winter okay. But rain yuck.“ I smile at the irony.
Rain somehow seems like a limitation. And it can be. I think of the pic-nic with the girls last summer that got cancelled or our plan to go to the beach today that we rescheduled to a “better“ day. Rain seems to limit us in our freedom. Our freedom of movement, exploration, simply being out in the world, really.
But is rain only a limitation?
Title image © 2017 Yosny Castro