I am sitting on a porch and listening to the Rain,
straining for Thunder and wishing for Lightning,
and thinking of times past,
before I had an inkling of what it means to be an adult,
though I still am not so certain what that entails,
before I left my childhood home for a new one,
before I sheltered myself inside of my mind
When I was young and all the world was new,
when I had no notion as to who Mother Nature was
or why adults always complained about her,
and instead understood the rules of hide-and-go-seek,
tag, and the floor is lava,
Rain and Thunder and Lightning helped me to realize
all that I did not know.
My family, often unpredictable, sometimes volatile, and usually so loving as to smother,
found solace and kinship, understanding and peace, in the fury of nature.
With a father who works construction
there is little time at home for bonding
and the only moments that offered any peace, any pause in our lives, was Rain,
when the ground grew muddy and no work could be done.
My mother would stop baking, cleaning, and fussing,
my brother and I would cease fighting and playing,
and join my father outside
to sit on the porch and listen and watch
and, occasionally, talk of unimportant matters that were quickly forgotten.
Now, as I sit on the porch railing of a house I have never been to before,
in the center of a college campus busy with activities,
breaking from a life rife with strife,
I can reminisce for but a moment
before the students leave their studies to venture abroad.
Watching them race through the rain,
I realize that the droplets cause a childish reaction in everyone who passes
as they laugh and scream, jump and run,
as if all the years have passed away
and, once again, they are children splashing in puddles.
One girl takes off her shirt and runs to her house in her bra
and I feel resentment, though I do not realize the cause at first.
I wish I could do that.
Strip and run, laughing and screaming, through the rain,
letting it course along my skin,
caressing the secret places that I keep hidden
and washing away the dirt that I don’t even know is there.
I wish that I were comfortable enough with myself
that I could ignore the prying eyes
and let Nature touch me directly.
Then the peace is broken as a friend joins me
and ushers me back to my room,
all reminiscent thoughts banished
in the wake of homework and deadlines and applications.
I take off my sandals and cover my phone,
preparing with marked efficiency for an inescapable walk
through the rain with no cover,
where I will surely be soaked to the skin.
Yet, as I separate from her and walk alone,
I feel a giddy glee bubble up
and I start deliberately treading in the puddles,
kicking the water until it fans in front of me
and then flipping my foot into the droplets that still hang in the air.
I turn my face up to the sky
and hope my hair will hold some of the essence, the smell, of the rain,
the perfume of peace and hope.
And as I enter my room
I strip off my wet clothes and stand in my underwear,
looking at myself in the mirror
under the harsh fluorescent lights,
water dripping from my disheveled hair,
skin lightly glistening when I move,
and no longer see any flaws,
but a girl who has become a woman
without losing that which made her a child
and has been cleansed by the rain
despite the best efforts of her avoidance and fear.
I do not know this woman,
this stranger born of the rain
who stares at me with a mysterious smile
and confident eyes.
But I will.
With time we shall meet in the middle,
Me, shy, uncertain, doubting, and
Her, self-assured, confident, outgoing,
and together will step into the rain
and erase all precepts of being separate,
of Her and I,
and instead become Me.