Friday, May 14, 2010

Gathering Rain

I had a flashback to high school today on my walk home form the subway station. It started with the soft spring rain and flooded in like the warm breeze.

I'm probably not shocking anyone here when I say I had a hard time growing up--mostly all of us have. I was an only child being raised by my father and grandfather. My mom died when I was only a baby and my father had a hard time being ok after that, and so have I. My grandfather was amazing. He gave up so much so I could try to have a normal life. He really did.

I was told once that acceptance equals control and I'm working on that. Acceptance sounds like such an easy concept but it's really one of those beautiful boxes with a special key that no one makes anymore. It looks so nice on the outside and you're certain it's just as lovely on the inside but you get so frustrated trying to open it at eventual you give up. I keep returning to it and try again, but that patience issue always gets me. Still working at it.

Back to story time. I was, like so many little girls, a tad horse-obsessed. I was saving up all my nickles and dimes to OWN my own horse. Until I had enough money, I came up with an imaginary horse. Her name was Desert and she was my best friend. Every night I hosted plays for my grandfather while my dad was cooking dinner. I would, without fail, ride in on Desert and perform a drama for him the likes of which have never been seen! He always laughed, smiled and applauded appropriately.

I decided one day that Desert needed a friend. His name was Dessert and they soon had a foal named Hot Chocolate. I thought I was pretty clever. I would ride one of my "horses" into the living room from the kitchen each night and first make my grandfather guess which one it was and promptly correct him when he got it wrong. "Poppy! Can't you see? Desert doesn't look anything like Hot Chocolate! Hot Chocolate is a Appaloosa with a spotted blanket, not a Paint!" I think Dessert was his favorite. He always loved Paints (we argued about the difference between a Paint and Pinto almost daily. I love it).

These theatrics lasted through my freshman year of high school until he was diagnosed with cancer and soon thereafter passed away. He was a man of few words, but he always supported my love of horses and my creativity. I remember one summer he scraped some money together (from where, I'll never know) and sent me to an all-girls' horse camp in the mountains for two weeks. It was amazing and everything I needed. It funny how most people never get you what you really want, but he always knew.

When he died I shut down a little. My father had pulled me from riding lessons at this point and I really had no where to go with the feelings I had inside. I remember the one thing, however, that really made me feel good was the rain. I would walk outside, whether it was pouring or just sprinkling, and just let it take me over. My father thought I was crazy, but he didn't understand my love of horses either. It was always, "Your mother broke every bone in her body riding horses! Is that what you want?" Never, "Your mother loved horses just like you." I bet she loved the rain, too.

I remember I had a Collective Soul album, self titled, that I listened to over and over again. I loved Collective Soul period, but there was this one song...and it's lyrics are probably tattooed under my skin somewhere. The chorus is as follows:

She gathers rain
to rinse away all her guilt and pain
she gathers rain
to wash and cleanse and make her whole again

When I first heard it I think I cried. I couldn't believe someone could write something so uniquely fitted for what I was feeling. I secretly hoped it was written for me. It was about change and overcoming hardships and, honestly, what all songs are about...getting over some life-altering challenge. But I took that song so seriously. I thought of it whenever I was sad--just like the horses, just like the rain, just like the smile on Poppy's face when I announced my dinner theatre each night.

I don't walk out into the rain anymore, but I still love it. It annoys me when I can't ride Eclipse because of it, but I can't ever say I hate it. I needed the rain tonight to remind me of how important it was to me for a few years back there in that house, with my father and my changes. Now, riding in the rain is  pretty fantastic...but not tonight. Today, rain, I'm going to let you have the night. Enjoy it.

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