A rainy day
I’ve almost finished reading ‘The Encyclopaedia of an Ordinary Life’ by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. The book is organised in short entries from A to Z and captures the moments, observations and emotions that comprise an ordinary life. There are so many entries that make me laugh out loud, like ‘Car Radio’:
and when you get back in the car, the loudness of the radio startles you. It didn’t seem so loud before because you turned it up gradually throughout the ride.
(If you know how loud I play my radio, this will make you laugh out loud too – at me.)
But of course, there are other entries that take me back to the darker days of a not so ordinary life. Like ‘Rainy Day’:
A rainy day comes as a relief. Rain is your pass to stay inside to retreat. It’s cozy and safe, hanging out on this side of the grey. But then the sun comes out in the afternoon, and there’s disappointment, even fear, because the world will now resume, and it expects your participation. People will get dressed and leave their houses and go places and do things. Stepping out into the big, whirling, jarringly sunny world – a world that just a few minutes ago was so confined and still and soft and understated, and refreshingly gloomy – seems overwhelming.
My sister passed away in May. In Changes in seasons, I wrote about how the season change from autumn to winter is a time that weighs a heavy sadness in my heart. Amy Krouse Rosenthal said that a rainy day comes as a relief. Looking back, it was a relief for me, in a way, to be in such deep mourning while it was raining. I didn’t have the sun outside my window as yet another reminder that the world was expecting my participation. Rainy days gave me all the excuses to not have to step outside. No one can argue with a rainy day.
Yet slowly, slowly, I was able to get dressed, leave my house, go places and do things. Slowly, slowly, the sun became the medicine for my soul, perhaps like the Japanese word ‘mono no aware’, which is an acute sensitivity to the transience of lovely things – or what is described by the School of Life as a melancholy awareness that everything nice will fade, combined with a rich enjoyment of this short-lived beauty. I didn’t feel rushed by nature to get to this point. I didn’t feel fear.
But I also know that at the same time, the sun can almost feel cruel and overwhelming when it shines its beauty on a world that you can’t bear to see when you are grieving in your darkest days.
There is a beautiful poem by William Henry Davies, called The Rain. It’s a reminder to me that in darkness there will in turn, always be light:
I hear leaves drinking rain;
I hear rich leaves on top
Giving the poor beneath
Drop after drop;
‘Tis a sweet noise to hear
These green leaves drinking near.
And when the Sun comes out
After this Rain shall stop.
A wondrous Light will fill
Each dark, round drop;
I hope the Sun shines bright’
‘Twill be a lovely sight.