I used to run outside at the first clap of Summer thunder to dance in the rain. The steps are easy: tilt your head back, stretch your eagle arms out, and spin. It tastes like salt and showers and growing things. Like yes! yes! Yes! And Grow. Grow. Grow.
I miss those friends who would dance in the rain without question. With a look of recognition, we would bolt. First one there gets one drop more. Dancing in the rain was just the right thing to do. It was the necessary thing.
But now, surrounded by the weight of years and loneliness, I’m without a dance partner. Now, with the closeness of expectations supposed, of duties to show being done, I’ve lost the dance. But somehow the song still wants a voice. Somehow that thing with feathers still flies a short hop inside and stirs what’s left of what dreaming and passion and the immediacy of dancing in the rain can do.
Now there are headphones to dampen normal noises. The happy wag of a dog falls from the sky like what-should-I-be-doing shrapnel in my back. A cat on a counter meowing to signal the sun squeezes my burning shoulders with expectations of duty.
That same wagging dog paces in the swampy night air. She repositions herself on the floor every few minutes to find a cooler spot to lay.
If there were a clap of thunder now, would she know the signal? Would she go dancing with me in the rain? Would she lift her head up and taste the pregnant potential of growing things and know what clouds might do? Of what reckless compassion might do? Of what dancing in the rain with a friend would most definitely do?
It will be 45 degrees cooler when I wake tomorrow, when I walk to the kitchen to toast a frozen waffle, fill the electric teapot, and take the first pill of the day.