October 6, 2014


Our children are up to their knees in the waves before we notice the dark cloud above the lake, a blur of rain below it, moving toward us. As I wade out to them, the cloud comes closer, and we return to the beach. Within minutes the sky darkens overhead and the first chilly raindrops strike bare shoulders and backs. Under towels wrapped around us, token protection against the rain, we huddle together while other bathers retreat, leaving us alone at the water’s edge in the rain. Then I see my granddaughter, the ten-year-old, still standing in breaking waves and falling rain, smiling at us, shrugging nonchalantly, never flinching.

Heavy raindrops punctuate the water around her and dapple the beach around us, sudden shocks on our shoulders, sudden speckling of lake water, sudden round depressions in sand. We stand and withstand and watch the clearing sky beyond the cloud and hope to wait out the rain. And we do. It passes over my granddaughter and then over the beach, no longer dimples the sand around us, floats off inland, and we feel the sun’s warmth again. Soon I am as deep into the lake as my granddaughter was, and her siblings and cousins are wading in, and my granddaughter is swimming, still aware of how she alone withstood what we all retreated from, unaware of how she looked, alone in the lake, smiling in the rain.


Photo "Rain Drops" provided by Pavlina Jane, via Flickr creative commons license.

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