Sunday, June 22, 2008


Right now it is not raining here. I am assured by Roger – and also by – that this is a temporary condition. It was raining earlier, complete with thunder, lightning, and some substantial hailstones. About ten minutes ago the sun came out. But it is gray again, and the windows which we reopened will need to be closed again.

In C.S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength, which for many reasons is one of my favorite books, the characters Camilla and Arthur Dennison relate that one of the reasons they got married was that they both like weather. Not any special kind of weather, just weather in general. Camilla says that most children like weather, and playing in it, until the adults force them not to. I am not sure that I liked weather as a child, but it is definitely true that one of the reasons I regularly give for liking living in Michigan is the experience of all four seasons. Summer thunderstorms, winter snow, wind, heat, cold; I want them all in my life.

As an adult, rain is the weather I probably appreciate least. It can make grocery shopping a trial. My exercise walk is even less pleasant in the rain. I really hate rain spots on my glasses. And yet ... one of the best memories I have of the camp where I spent parts of twelve summers, first as a camper, then on staff, is a walk in the rain.

That particular summer, my first on staff, the staffers were divided into two groups. For two weeks one group were counselors, spending from Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning riding herd on “cabin groups” of campers. The other group served as support staff, cooking and serving meals, cleaning bathrooms, mowing grass. After two weeks the groups switched.

This particular week I was on kitchen duty, which was the longest working day. In the kitchen by 6AM, breakfast on the table by 7:45. Clean up from breakfast, start lunch – and some of the dinner prep as well. Serve lunch (12 noon sharp), then clean up. And then you were free for a couple of hours, until 4PM for serving dinner at five thirty. (I don't mean to imply that this was drudgery. Actually, we played music, and talked, and had a generally good time. But it was long.)

We were free to do whatever we liked during our off hours, which usually boiled down to sleeping and/or swimming in the pool/lying in the sun. But this particular day it was raining, with enough chance of lightning that the pool was closed. And Anna and I weren't sleepy.

This was before the days of lightweight plastic ponchos and raincoats. Such things were made of treated fabric, even canvas, and they were heavy. Plastic trash bags, however, were new and wonderful and easily available in the kitchen. Anna and I grabbed a couple, poked holes for our heads, and spent our free hours running, laughing, singing and playing in the rain. We got back to the cabin just in time to put on dry sneakers and report for dinner duty. Our hair was wet, but since this was, after all, a (rather rustic) camp, that was fine.

I find it intriguing that of all the many many hours I spent at camp, these two rainy ones come to the top of my mind most often. Maybe I should take off my glasses, grab a trash bag, and go!

(As predicted, it's raining again.)

1 comment:

Jen said...

It's been raining here all month long. It rains every day. But the sun comes out for at least part of the day, so that is nice. I like rain, as long as I don't have to go out in it for long.