It’s been summer for what feels like an eternity. If we’re getting technical, it’s been a little over a month and a half. It’s been nothing but sunshine, heat, and cloud-less blue skies. Most people would find this to be some kind of heaven – I’m pretty sure that’s why everyone flocks to California or Texas (depending on their prior political opinions, that is). On the other hand, you have people like me. My idea of the perfect day is spending a crisp morning just after sunrise out on a walk with my dog, the rain pouring down enough to soak us both. There are always more birds, less people, and I can feel everything better. It keeps raining as we go home, relax, drink tea and get comfortable under blankets and pillows. The rain keeps on, as we re-energize and I make my way to my desk to sit down and write. The morning walk is mostly for Gus, but nothing centers me and brings me back to my creative space quite like a walk in a rainy wood. By the time I’m sitting with my fingers to keyboard, my mind has opened up and is ready to spill over with creativity, an untouched well of possibility. The rain – and the tea – don’t stop. I don’t want to say that I hate the sun. There’s something particularly beautiful about a wonderful sunny day, with the sun just past risen and the world still waking up. It feels something like infinity and, again, like possibility. Like the sun shining down on my shoulders could lift me up into the air and send me flying wherever I want to. That only lasts so long, though. Before noon the sun beats down on my shoulders and becomes a heavier, overbearing weight that I can’t shake. It clings, it hovers, it sticks to my skin and tries to stay with me wherever I go. I don’t like being clung to. I don’t like the feeling the sun makes as its hot and sticky skin tries to caress mine. The sun and I, after our honeymoon moments, are not made for each other. I miss the rain. I miss the rain like I have only missed a few things in my life, and I feel both stupid and ridiculous realizing just how much I miss it. How absolutely visceral missing it feels. I’ve lost a lot of things in my life. Three very important things in the last year, all that felt they were varying sizes of me, parts that were ripped and cut out and others meticulously carved from their place. The rain leaving felt like someone slowly fading, their presence hardly missed until – with a sudden shock of a hello and just as quick of a goodbye – it hit me. It hadn’t rained for more than a month and I hadn’t noticed. I could feel myself grow comfortable in this skin, enjoying the sun, enjoying the sky, enjoying the days where I felt like I could do anything I wanted… Then, for just a few minutes, the rain came back. I was stuck in my cubicle when it happened, but I’m lucky. I have a cubicle by the window. It rained and I heard the sound of it against the glass instantly, saw the sky darken. My heart leapt into my throat, my heart pounded in my ears and absolutely nothing else mattered because the thing I hadn’t realized I had been missing was suddenly right there, wrapping its arms around me and telling me that it hadn’t forgotten about me. It would just be a little while longer. The rain stopped. Like I said, it left just as quickly as it had come. When used in this context, the definition of visceral reads as follows: so overwhelmingly real and tangible that despite it being weather and not something with a soul or a presence or anything it was the most real thing that had ever existed. It was in that moment that I felt the space the lack of rain had left for me, the area that had disappeared over time and that had been left empty, waiting for the moment the rain returned. How it hadn’t ached before this I didn’t know. I almost felt guilty, for just a moment, but here is the thing: the rain will never make you feel ashamed. So I didn’t. I had never known how badly I needed the rain until that moment, even though I had always known that the rain and I were bound. My favorite smell in the world is petrichor – a little known word for the smell of fresh rain hitting pavement after a dry spell. It will be happening soon. The rain will come back in another three weeks – it always comes back around my birthday, a little gift from the world to me. Now that I’ve noticed the rain and its absence, I can’t go back to pretending it isn’t there. I can’t forget what it felt like, what it feels like. I’ve been wondering if this in and of itself was a little gift too, something to remind me that perhaps I needed to get back to myself before I pushed myself further. You can’t be and do the things you want to do if you’ve lost yourself. Not really. I’m waiting for the rain to come back. I plan on being right there for it, the moment it does. Standing, waiting. Welcoming it with wide open arms.