Thursday, March 31, 2016

Don't Discount the Parenthesis

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.” 
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

So, as you know, I set my alarm for five o’clock in the morning again.  I do this alarm setting ritual when I feel out of control and lost and out of sorts and in control and in the groove and doing well. Basically, five o’clock in the morning means I am aware.

As the clock turned to five, the rain started to pour out of the clouds. I sat, waiting for my coffee, and I listened. I listened to my skylight, that I used to hate. I listened to the steady and consistent downpour that a skylight offers. I listened and felt. I listened and felt memories of steady and consistent rains. Rain that is loud enough to soothe, like the best of all sound machines, and gentle enough to build a cocoon of temporary safety around everyone who chooses to witness her momentary dance. 

And I thought. I thought of the tin roof that covers the cabin at my camp where I was a camper. I heard the raindrops hit that tin roof and melted into the white noise the constant pouring provides. I remembered I must shout to be heard. I must shout, as I wore my green parka with the hood, and run from cabin to cabin. I must shout because I was part of the oldest cabin and we run, because we check on the youngest cabins. 

I went to a girls’ summer camp, much like the summer camp the movie, Parent Trap. We checked on the each other and played a mean game of SPIT while the rain pounded the tin roof of the cabin and snuck out in the middle of the night to play pranks. We swam miles, only to earn the honor of seeing our names engraved on a board in the Dining Hall. And we lived for Hanging Breakfast. Hanging Breakfast, is basically packaged food hanging from trees in the woods that must be found at dawn in pajamas. I thought this Hanging Breakfast was so fun when I was twelve and at camp and in the dream world of camp.

And then so many years later, I moved into this house. A house with a skylight, that I don’t care for, and I insisted should be filled in and exonerated. Until I heard the first rain. The rain, pounding down on this skylight I think I hate, reminds me of camp and the tin roof and my friends and the cinnamon rolls hanging from trees. And this sound, it is magical. This sound transports me to a moment in time when the world was okay and I met friends because we tossed notes from bunk to bunk at nap time and because we shared a tent on that long and grueling Appalachian Trail Hike. This sound transports me to the night we returned from the hike, covered in bites and with swollen limbs because we accidentally trampled through a nest of yellow jackets. We were so very, very happy for a dinner of beanie weenies. So very happy. Like, it’s a tradition happy and we just did hiked and camped with giant, swollen hands and necks and all happy. This sound transports me to that night. That moment.

The sound of rain can bring me back to a moment I knew I was alive. Which is my new goal, to look for these moments, these I knew I was alive moments. The sound of rain brings me to a place of peace. I play cards and talk about nothing when it rains. I run from cabin to cabin, in my hooded rain gear, to check on the younger kids. I am at camp. Camp is a world where we all get along and we all care and we all listen to the rain and feel the dirt under our boots. Camp in a place where we hear the rain and we listen and we watch. Camp is a place where we live in the parenthesis.

I do not take rain lightly anymore. Rain taught me that the parenthesis of life teach us about the sentences of life. I loved camp. I loved rainy days at camp.  I loved the cards and the unscripted camp moments when we went off schedule and embraced mother nature and what she has to offer.

Yes, she had rain. Mother Nature, that tricky gal, with her downpour, she also throws in a bit of magic. She throws in togetherness and sameness and love. And a really good game of SPIT with some girls you met, on a bunk, in a cabin, at camp.

You will know these girls a lifetime even though they only existed in the parenthesis. Parenthesis moments will return return and my camp days taught me to notice them. Don’t discount the parenthesis. 

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