Go Play in the Rain
June 1, 2005
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. A show from Wolf Trap, an amazing show really. All kinds of emotions rose up, probably because I need some sun and it was Memorial Day weekend and the world seems on a hinge with summer around the corner. When Mr. Keillor and Prudence led the audience in singing "The Star Spangled Banner" I sang along, of course, like everyone else in their kitchens and garages and gardens and cars and pontoon boats and cabins with the show on and it being evening on a Saturday when we've all got a little more time to feel what we feel.
When Prudence launched into "Don't It Make You Want to Go Home" I said out loud, It sure does, Prudence, it sure does. I'm not sure what "it" was but for me it was the feeling I had singing along with Lord knows how many people while my forearms were deep in bread dough and the screen door banged shut every few minutes with the wind and I could smell that green earth scent that rises up just before a rain. I watched, in the distance, old Dan Jackson out mowing his lawn, rushing to finish the perfectly-lined rows before the rain. I finished the bread and lumped it into two greased pans and slid it into the oven.
When I hollered for the kids they came running and their bluejeans were shredded at the knees and stained with grass, and their elbows were stained, too, and there was fresh mown grass in their hair and they were breathing hard and hopeful. "What?" they said. I gave them each a glass of lemonade and a couple snickerdoodles and told them they've got to pause now and then for a breather. They told me about the birds they saw over at the park and the flashlight they found in the parking lot and how Mrs. Everson gave them each a piece of licorice. A few drops of rain fell as they talked and I thought how sweet their faces and eager their eyes. "Oh, no, do we have to come in?" they asked. Well it's about to pour down rain, I said, and you'll get soaked or hit by lightning.
Then there was this quiet for just a second and their faces changed and something inside of me did a cartwheel and I said, Oh, alright. Go on ahead. Go play in the rain.
By this time it was coming down hard and I watched from my window my children splashing in the pool near the gutter. They ran to the eaves of the house and stood in the water pouring down and then, arms flung up high, they danced around in circles on the lawn, peeling off their shoes and socks and rolling up their jeans and my, how their faces shined bright.
Oh, how much we forget along the way. The next time it rains, look for me out there, out on the lawn, dancing.