A Spring Rain

Attitude of Gratitude, family, self improvement, The Inspired Life

It’s raining as I write. A dark, low, rumbling thunderous rain. Not frightening. The sort of rain that rolls in like a vacuum and cleans away the winter dust. It has been an ugly, long week of rain, tornado warnings and high winds, and yet, we soldier on here, not flinching in our schedules, not hesitating to make our plans for the day, for the week, for the future.

What if it rains? What if there is a tornado? What if there is a flood?

Then we’ll deal with it.

Somehow. We do. We just do. That’s spring in Chicago. It follows the blizzards and bitter, frigid temperatures of our winters, and will usher in the blistering, smoldering, humid heat of our summers. Midwesterners are tough, strong people. We have to be to deal with our weather. Some of us complain about it. I do. Loudly. Often. But it doesn’t stop us. It happens so often that it is part of the daily round. Something expected and planned for. We wear our weather like a badge of honor. It makes us rugged and brave. It shows our courage. The weak would move. The weak DO move. It isn’t easy to tolerate the barrage of ever changing attacks.

The weather here changes you if you let it. It molds you and shapes you the way water wears at the surface of stone. Over time, you build callouses to all the drama that the weather provides. You move on. You make better provisions. You learn to plan ahead. To strategize. You become unfazed to the trauma that would affect your To Do list. You simply move on to Plan B -because you have a plan B.

A recruiter once told me that in his opinion, people from the Midwest were the hardest working people in the States. They learned how to work around things. They learned how to pitch in and get things done. If you doubt it, watch and see how quickly the Midwest can mobilize and band together after a winter storm or tornado. Families and neighbors pull together and get the job done. It isn’t a question of IF. They just figure out HOW and they just DO it.

My youngest son graduated from 8th grade this weekend. We had a large family party in the backyard, complete with two Weber grills fired up with a selection of meats, salads and pasta on the buffet and choices of dessert. On the patio, my eldest son’s Karaoke company had set up the evening to be a entertaining night of Karaoke, singing and fun for all of the kids and kids at heart. Despite the fact that Severe Thunderstorm’s had rolled through in the morning, dousing everything with buckets of water and sweeping through with the fourth wind-storm of the weekend, we continued on undaunted. When it looked as if ten minutes after he set up his equipment the storms were going to return, we pulled out the giant tent from the garage, set it up in moments, and continued on with nary a break in the action. The party and the singing continued on around us.

As I looked around, singing, dancing, laughter, chatting, were the actions taking place around me. No one gave a fig about the weather, the grayness of the skies or the humidity in the air. We focused on what was good. We focused on what was fun. We were focused on family.

That’s the way it is here. The worse the weather gets, the more we pull in tighter. The more we cozy up to each other. The weather reminds us of what is important. Pitching in. Helping out. Team work. Family. The rain, the snow, the heat, they wash away the trivial and leave us with the important things to worry about.

We know how to figure it out. And we do it together.

At nine O’clock, we pulled down the tent and put the karaoke away. Just in time, as if waiting for permission, the winds picked up and the sky unleashed it’s next bucket of rain for the evening. We gathered inside, with the back door open listening to it fall. My husband and son stood in the doorway, watching as the energy lights flickered across the sky in the dark, the rumbling of thunder, rolling low and deep. Their hushed voices chatted as the rest of us listened to soft music, finishing our wine. The air was warm, washed clean from the spring rain, the mist reaching into the house, filling the air with the scent. All was peaceful, loving, content.

Yes, It changes you to live here. You become adaptable. Flexible. Strong. Appreciative of the good moments. The moments when the rain is soft and clean, bringing a man and son together in the night, a memory I will watch in my mind for a long time.

Appreciative of family, of being able to bend with the wind, still laughing, still playing….waiting hopefully… for the sun.

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14 thoughts on “A Spring Rain

  1. Appreciative of family, of being able to bend with the wind, still laughing, still playing….waiting hopefully… for the sun.

    Ah, after almost ten years in the Midwest, transplanted from Southcentral Texas, I have yet to fully embrace this state of being. Heavy storms still bring on deep seated fear and agitation. Yet, with that comes a covering of anticipation, wonderful exciting anticipation of Mother Nature at Her most powerful.

    So loved this entry, Wendi. It shows the inner Midwestern spirit you carry inside. A spirit to be proud of and know will be carried into future generations.

    Blessed Be,
    Ms. O
    Having a moment of drying out and playing in the gardens!

  2. What if it rains? What if there is a tornado? What if there is a flood? Then we’ll deal with it.

    I love it! When storms of life hit us, we worry about how we are going to make it through and how we are going to overcome the hurt or pain. The funny thing is, no matter if we like it or not the only thing we can do is “deal with it.” Wonderful reminder. Thanks for the post. Sherita Searcy http://www.sheritasearcy.com

  3. Wonderful writing, thank you.

    I had an odd twitter moment last week: Rick Mahn set his laptop up to video the thunderstorm by his house as a storm came rolling in, then linked it up to a yahoo video feed. I got there from twitter, then, in my house in Edinburgh, listened to his storm.

    It was so moving to listen to the thunder, to sense the storm so far away… and yet so close to me. It felt very powerful, and I felt humbled, awed, inspired…

    Joanna

  4. How True! The weather cannot diminish the spirit of family. The weather cannot diminish the spirit of a town, I clearly remember working at the carnival and it poured buckets, people didn’t run home they stayed and played in the mud! It was quite funny!

    Nice job Miss Wendi!

  5. I think Chicago should be separate from the rest of Illinois sometimes.
    I left Peoria (2 hrs drive south from Chicago) 3 years ago and the winters had been getting milder and milder. I moved to Detroit and expected harsh winters, nah, pretty cold and gloomy but few days when the weather affected much, then I moved here to the New York City area so I expected a decent blizzard, perhaps I just confused the city with Buffalo, as we barely got any snow at all!

    But yeah, weather can humble you in the sight of God, I was in south Florida when hurricane Andrew hit and we thought we might die, that was a weird feeling to wait for death to decide which place to strike!

  6. @Darren
    I have to smile. Detroit is just across the river from Windsor, Ontario. Which Canadians think of as the “banana belt”. Windsor has the mildest climate in the country.

    Though I must admit..I’ve never seen a hurricane (though in Toronto or Montreal, we occasionally get the tail end of one). I know it’s not the same thing…but it’s still impressvie to see six foot ocean-sized waves on Lake Ontario.

    We get the odd tornado too…but not as often as the Mid West.

  7. Hi Wendi,

    I was born and raised in the Midwest, and that Midwest spirit has remained with me no matter where I’ve lived. I used to attribute that spirit to how I was raised, but as I got older I started hearing stories that it’s a regional trait.

  8. Barbara,
    THey say the Midwest spirit becomes part of you and never leaves. I am born and bred in Ohio. Moved here when I was 12. Despite my whining, I have never lived anywhere but the midwest.

    I keep hoping…dreaming… 🙂

  9. Daz,
    My husband John was in Hurricane Andrew too. Not good.
    And we ALL thing Chigaco should be seperate from the rest of Illinois! LOL. Just to clarify, I am in a North suberb, helf way between Chicago and Wisconsin, little bit of boonies. Lake County. Chicago politics…crazy.

    Jenny,
    I know you know what I am talking about as you and I were out to lunch in one of the downpours this weekend! Lost track of which one!

    Joanna,

    That sounds really cool, wish I could have heard it. Although this week, it might have been a bit redundant! LOL!

    Sherita,

    Yes, it really is a metiphor for the storms of life. And they come when you least expect them and no one is exempt. We just have to choose how we deal with them. Thanks for your comments.

    Ms O,
    I am afraid of really close lightning, and I have been in a tornado in a tent once. Scary.Do you remember me sharing my mother’s beans and tent story? I may blog about that here one day.

  10. “Do you remember me sharing my molther’s beans and tent story?”

    Oh, Wendi,
    Do share. It is such a neat story. I loved it the first read and will love it all the more with a second helping!
    Hugs on a sunshiny day! No more rain till Friday! Wheeeeee!

    Ms. O

  11. What a beautiful post Wendi. I must confess, I probably couldn’t withstand the weather in Chicago. I’m a California girl, born and bred and ruined by the spoils of the sun. From out here on the west coast, I admire your family’s ability to keep on keeping on. It’s a beautiful thing.

  12. I love your stories and reflections. It’s interesting to think about how the environment we grow up in influences us and the people around us.

  13. Hi Wendi,

    I’m from Michigan so I know all about Midwesterners. We had the nasty weather, too. In fact, this huge limb fell of the tree in our driveway and we couldn’t get out so Mike had to quick run out there with the chainsaw. We had to pick up Carolyn in something like 20 minutes.

    But we got to the school to pick her up!

    Midwesterners are practical people. I like Michigan, and we probably won’t leave here. I’ve lived other places but this seems to be the best. Hey! We have Lake Michigan! You can’t beat that! We’re 40 minutes from the lake.

  14. Forgot to offer my congrats to you and your son! How rude of me. One little milestone. Now he is a big high schooler! Yea!

    I’m done with one graduate and working on the second. I don’t think she’ll be as hard…She likes school.

    E

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