It is a rainy day here in Fort Collins, Colorado. Yesterday brought snow but the warm temperatures of spring bring rain today. I enjoy the rain. A change in weather always makes me happy. I see many people on my social media sites bashing the rain and snow. It’s time you play in the rain my friend.
Before the clouds rolled in, the temperature was comfortable. It was summer on the Appalachian Trail. We might have been in Tennessee. We might have been in North Carolina. Hell, we might have been in Virginia. Who knows? The trail went through 14 states and its hard to determine the exact location of all the memories I have of my five month and twenty-two day hike through Appalachia.
We were hiking hills and green balds and they were stunning beyond belief. The late afternoon’s hue turned from orange to gray. The setting sun tried to peak through, giving in a splash of its bright aura every now and then. We approached a cluster of trees, a nice juxtaposition seen on the short grassy hill. The tree’s swayed as the wind picked up. I watched the light green leaves flutter delicately.
I smelled the moisture in the air as my body shivered from goose bumps that formed as the temperature dropped. My body was so sweaty from hiking all day with a full pack. My internal fire was warm. To be honest, the cool temperature felt fabulous. By this point, Ryan had stopped hiking. I knew exactly what he was thinking.
It’s going to rain.
I pride myself on the amount of rainy hikes I have endured. However, at this point in my life, I was not the expert I am today. I had a few rainy hikes under my belt but this moment happened only after a month on a five month trek. I knew nothing.
I started to laugh. Ryan and I laughed together. The air just felt so good and my heart grew excited for the pending doom of rain. I flung off my pack to dig for my rain jacket. Then, I stopped. I heard a noise, a uniform sound. At first I thought it might have been a swarm of bees. Then, the volume increased and the noise mimicked a crowd of snapping fingers.
Then Ryan yells, “It’s the rain, it’s coming!”
The popping sound was nothing but the rain releasing, falling. My heart felt giddy. Hearing the rain before feeling its moisture made me anxious and excited. I grabbed my pack and ran.
My legs were so strong. I ran down the hill with a smile on my face. The rain didn’t take long to finally hit our bodies. I just had to laugh. My heart had never felt more free in my life. I was enduring the earth’s magic instead of hiding away from it.
I can’t remember where we camped that night or if it stopped raining. I just remember being so giddy. I just remember hearing power behind the storm. Never had I experienced hearing rain release, like a warning for those below. Even writing this invokes joyful and uplifting feelings. I’m even sitting straighter in my seat!
Rain isn’t always the enemy. We whine and complain about the weather that earth provides but we never cherish it, let alone revel in it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen death in the worst thunderstorms but rain brings us freshwater. It is part of our critical water cycle; it deserves some respect and admiration.
Today, I cherish this fun memory on the trail because hiking in the rain has been as close as it gets to dancing in the rain for me. I have found my true self when faced with miles to go during a downpour.