Make your own light shine, even when rain reigns

Posted July 03, 2009, at 6:41 p.m.

It’s a slugfest in the garden, if not on your child’s school baseball diamond or in the sodden stadiums of big-league players. Your imagined tan has gone the way of all flesh. And now it looks likely it’s going to rain on our parades. Give us a break! June was literally a washout. Don’t we rate a few rays for the holiday?

At least the swirling parade of low-pressure systems replete with downpours, mist and fog seems custom-made for this Notes from the Deep End columnist. After all, it’s my business to tell readers what to do when life throws us into its deep ends, and how to manage when we are over our heads in challenges.

Well, now that we are literally swamped with rain, here’s my advice. Make a splash!

How about waxing poetical about it? Adopt e.e. cummings’ childlike point of view: “in Just/spring when the earth is mud-luscious … [and] the world is puddle-wonderful.”

This makes me recall a summer’s day when it poured so hard that the raindrops bounced knee-high from the sidewalk. Back then, my three young daughters and I ran outdoors and let ourselves be soaked to the skin as we romped around in the rain. Our arms were outstretched like those of Julie Andrews in the much sunnier opening scene of “The Sound of Music,” as we belted out the song “Singing in the Rain” at the top of our lungs.

This works on a hot summer afternoon, but somehow, on second thought, I suppose I cannot recommend making this kind of splash in Maine’s current chilly conditions. Of course, you might consider watching the movie starring Gene Kelly dancing through some pretty impressive puddles — wonderful.

There is always the library, where it is warm and dry. On rainy days, the books offer up the magical smell of old paper and the promise of taking you anywhere in the world that you would wish to be — or even to places never before imagined. With luck, a librarian will be reading something aloud to little ones and you can listen in, as rapt as the tots are to hear about “The Cat in the Hat” or “The Story About Ping” or “The Little Engine That Could.”

Speaking of that little engine, who made it from hither to yon on the sheer force of hope and good spirits, it’s time to say “I think I can” and conquer those dampened spirits, especially if you meet tourists in your work or just in passing.

This onslaught of bad weather is surely devastating to day-trip traffic. But those who summer here or who are locked into particular vacation stays in the Pine Tree State may well find themselves doing more dining out and shopping — and encountering us Mainers. With our economy more dependent than ever on their expendi-tures — and simply because it’s just plain nice to be friendly — it literally pays to put on a bright smile whenever you can.

I have to admit that I felt absolutely sunny when a tourist I chatted with recently told me, “I’ve never stayed in a place where it rained so much — or where the people were so friendly. I’m loving it here in Maine, even in the rain.”

And if it rains on our parades today, let’s put on our galoshes and look at it this way. Highly anticipated events that go on despite bad weather are often more memorable than they would be if they were drenched in sunshine.

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