Dance in the Rain

I relocated to the Southern Cali mountains in June, 1999. That summer our community saw a lot of rain – and thank goodness it did, because I’d rented a miniscule, 500-square-foot cabin without air conditioning and trust me, my friends, it gets hot there.

That change of residence was the end result of planning started a full year prior, prepping my former house for sale. You know the drill. I gave away tons of stuff, held a million garage sales, faux-painted flagstone by hand across a huge cement pool deck, cleaned every surface, bought new drapes and towels and decorated the house to a “t.” The work paid off big time, because the property sold three days after I hammered in the sign beside the driveway.

My life was forever altered with that move. I’d stored away prized possessions that made the cut and trucked just the bare minimum up to the tiny cottage, not sure if I would care to stay longer than a few weeks. The transition was odd and sudden – like a cartoon car screeching to a halt in a comic parody of a full stop, and the first month was a difficult adjustment.

After 365 days of crazy, chaotic hubbub, the dead calm that accompanied my new life in an unfamiliar rental was like a dream. I couldn’t sleep. I hug out on the couch for the first week, drinking wine (after 5:00, of course) and listening to the wind and the birds sing. Bit by bit I began to explore a new bank, new town, new grocery store, the new post office. The ladies who worked in the library didn’t know my name. I felt a bit manic, out of my skin.

Then it began to rain. The showers were welcome, cooling. The storms washed the fuzzy film off everything, including my mind, and wiped the slate clean. The tap of raindrops was consistent that summer, and the sound provided a sense of relief beyond the cool. A veil of mist descended. The onset ended uncomfortable bouts of seller’s remorse, second-guessing and overactive thoughts. The damp air helped me breathe again.

I threw open every window in that tiny place and stood in the doorway, my new window on the world, watching as the parched earth soaked up the heavenly gift. The dog and I walked in spite of the drizzle, splashed through puddles, laughed and raced among the wet, dripping oaks. I felt cocooned in the thundershowers and could barely put a foot wrong.

Twelve years ago, I chose to believe those seasonal storms were a sign that my judgment had changed for the better, that I could trust my decisions, that the voice in my head had really whispered the right words. I felt my actions would improve the quality of my life for the long-term.

In retrospect, I know that moving to this small town was the best choice I’ve made in decades. I simplified and found my place, enjoying the company of new friends and neighbors. I can step out my front door and indulge in longs walks along winding, tree-lined rural roads with little traffic and lots of startling, vivid scenery.

What I learned from that leap – and every risk I’ve taken since, is that it’s okay to take a chance. Make the change. Listen to your gut. Follow your heart, hold on to your dream, whatever it may be. My life is a bright reflection of a favorite quote: Anyone who says only sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.

The weather forecast is calling for showers this week. Bring it on, world, I’m ready. Thunder, lightening? I’m not afraid. Let it pour.

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