Everything wonderful in my life has happened while it was raining, or at least in the rainy season. I love the rain. Not many people do, and truthfully I can understand why. Rain is not something you can learn to enjoy or come to tolerate. Those who do truly love rain understand that it is born into us and we have always loved rain and everyone else will always hate it.
The summer doesn’t like me. It’s still six months until my birthday, mosquitoes have a certain fondness for my skin, and laziness forms a temporary insomnia of sleepless, scorching nights. But the winter is magical and romantic. Rain makes everything a little more crisp and fresh. It makes the asphalt on the highway glitter, the color of the sky look tempting, and even the sound of the night escalade as a soft rhythm of pitter-patter touches the roof. It’s unexplainable, but it feels right to say that I belong in the rain, that the moisture suites me well, and that the world becomes something beautiful when it’s wet. The muddy shoes are what I love most about winter, an idea, a memory that is tangible and consistent. I believe in muddy shoes.
What people hate about rain is the little inconveniences that prevent them from seeing the overall wonder. “My hair is all wet and frizzy,” or, “I parked in a huge puddle,” or, “I stepped right in the mud and ruined my brand new shoes.” Seriously, get some decent footwear and stop complaining, you’re missing out on all the good parts of life. This is something we did as children, something that we used to love: stomping in the mud and watching the rain wash away our dirty footprints.
When I was a kid I had this bright, yellow rain coat and red rubber boots. Every year on the first rain of the season I would go out into the vineyard with my dad wearing this outfit. We could never hear anything over the storm so we just smiled a lot and made unrecognizable hand gestures. Looking around, there was nothing but empty vines and growing puddles where the tadpoles would soon live, but I loved it. What I remember is once we walked so far out that the mud was up to my ankles and I had to battle my boots for each step. Finally the boots won and I was left stuck in the mud, crying as the rain noisily hit the hood of my coat. After laughing a bit my father gently lifted me right out of my shoes and carried me all the way home under his jacket. We sat in the basement with the cats, sipping our cocoa while my socks dried…and I was happy. I have a lot of bad memories with my dad, but that’s one of the good ones. It reminds me of loving the rain, and it taught me about muddy shoes.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.