It is raining. The question is: Why?
It isn’t what is rain or where is rain or when is rain. We know all that. The question is: Why is rain? Why today? Not that it matters. A philosopher can enjoy a rainy day as well as any other. Rainy day or sunny day. It doesn’t matter. It’s all good, even when it isn’t.
As The Verve said, “it’s a bitter sweet symphony, this life.”
Enjoyment is an attitude. It isn’t weather dependent. It’s immaterial because it doesn’t depend on anything. It comes by way of you. You take a rainy day and enjoy it anyway.
Rubber boots, a puddle, the patter of rain, possibly a hot drink and book later. Doesn’t take much. Jump into a puddle, say, “Here I am!” and there you are.
Enjoyment is strapping on life like you’d strap on a baby bonnet – on a baby! It’s gentle, giving and warm, free and innocent and does no harm. You don’t have to be in a beer commercial to be happy or deny that you cry on occasion, “My eyes are just a little sweaty today” (Flight of the Conchords). Resistance to feelings is futile.
As Lynn Anderson sang it, “Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometime” (“Rose Garden“). Feel self pity and fear all you want but when you get tired of it, raise your eyes to the skies and go outside. Forget about it. Forget self-esteem! Forget self-importance! Forget yourself. Heartache fades when you focus outward.
Rain isn’t scientific. It isn’t for the purpose of survival. Rain is Beauty. Rain is Truth. That is the why of rain.
The poet John Keats (1795-1821) taught that, “human sorrow may be vanquished forever in the conquest of the infinite certitude that eternal Beauty and eternal Truth are one” (Thorpe, 1926, p. 10). But what is beautiful? What is true?
That’s up to you.
To see the beauty of a person or object is to recognize its beauty and see beyond the superficial. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” (Ode on a Grecian Urn, Keats, 1819). It’s an easy message to follow: cast off your social facade and display yourself naked before the judgmental scrutiny of all humankind (then run like hell!).
Let your brainiac intellect go quiet and remember the advice Paul McCartney received in a dream from his mum.
Said Paul, “I remember quite clearly her saying ‘Let it be,’ and ‘It’s going to be OK. Don’t worry. You know, ‘Let it be'” (source).
To which Paul Simon said after writing, “Where did that come from? It doesn’t seem like me” (source).
That’s the mystery.
When you whisper words of wisdom, “let it be,” when you lay yourself down like a bridge over troubled water for a friend, that’s when you get it. Like the melancholy man said, “A beam of light will fill your head. And you’ll remember what’s been said. By all the good men this world’s ever known” (Moody Blues, “Melancholy Man”).
As a poet said, “Save me a place. I’ll come running if you love me today” (Fleetwood Mac, “Save Me A Place”).
The poet Thomas Traherne (1637-1674) taught that when people get tangled in words, ideas and discriminations they lose sight of the one amazing reality all around.
Traherne wrote, “we should be as very Strangers to the Thoughts, Customs, and Opinions of men in this World as if we were but little children” (Centuries, III, 5).
Today we forget self pity. We set our luggage down. We breathe easy. Instead of focusing straight ahead with laser beam eyes, we use flood lights to see the sides.
Today we walk in slow motion without swinging our arms. Chin up, shoulders back. We have a peripheral vision. We love a lost cat in the rain while Mantovani plays “Moon River” in our brain.
The proof that people don’t understand what they do is in their doing. If they could do better, they would. But they can’t. So they don’t. Those who are cruel have broken from beauty.
People think themselves reasonable as they do something horrible. We are visible manifestations of our inner thoughts and feelings. A terrorist to one person is a freedom fighter to another. We lose self-respect. Those who hit get admired. The trouble is, we can’t stop what we do as we’re doing it (because we’re doing it).
Awareness is the key to self-mastery. Watch what you watch and then watch yourself watching yourself watching what you watch and then, when you get tired of all that, go for a walk and hear sounds without comment. Look for beauty like you’re in a movie.
Imagine you’re on a bridge in Paris. A bell strikes midnight.
You see a man named Gil greet a woman named Gabrielle. You hear Gabrielle mention Cole Porter and you see Gil smile.
You see Gil offer to buy Gabrielle coffee just as it begins to rain and Gabrielle smiles. “I don’t mind getting wet,” she says. “Actually, Paris is at its most beautiful in the rain.”
Gil couldn’t agree more.
And a jazz song from Sidney Bechet begins to play. In the rain. Such is the magic and beauty of enjoyment realized simply in the love of a moment. Content.
With love and amazement at what is.