It took me three tries to get to my spot today. I sat in the Pembroke arch, watching the rain, waiting for it to let up. Every time I would think the rain had stopped, I would venture tentatively out, hand first and body second. It wasn’t raining heavily, but I had intended to draw. I was determined to find the exact moment in which the rain would pause, allowing me to carry through with my plan. I wanted to defy the rain.
Finally, after at least fifteen minutes, I realized there was no way I was going to win against the rain. I sat dejectedly on a plastic bag in my spot, feeling rather lost. What now? Is this where the narrative of “man vs nature” emerges? We make plans, but ultimately the rain is a reminder of how little can go according to that plan.
As I looked around me at the waterlogged landscape, I thought of all the associations I have with rain. I thought of hiding under a bed-sheet tent with my younger sister, trying to pretend I wasn’t terrified of a storm. I remembered when the rain flooded our basement, invaded our home and yet I wished so badly that the water had flooded high enough so that our basement would turn into a pool. Anytime I wanted to swim, I imagined that I could just walk down my basement stairs and dive in. I remembered living on an island during a storm one summer, and having to pack a small bag in case we were to be evacuated by helicopter. I waited anxiously by the television that day, imagining all my things that would be flooded away if we had to leave. Finally I thought of my dog, and first time he discovered rain. I couldn’t help but laugh as he tried to navigate the rain, ultimately deciding that he did not appreciate being wet and having no where to hide.
What the rain means for me will not mean the same for you. Associations inform how we interact in the future, how we feel about certain situations. Today the rain was a deterrent, forcing me to abandon my own plan and sit in silence. Today the rain was a measure of my own powerlessness.