Thunder grumbled. The sky moved like a muddy river, swirling and shifting, unsure of its direction, festering, moody, passionate. Long grass on the edge of the jungle moved in waves, the wind playing, racing with excitement, inviting me to hurry. Was I too late?
I closed the screen door behind me, the worn wood edge catching my skirt. I slipped my feet into my sandals only to take them out again, leaving them where I found them. This was my first time. I wanted to do it right.
The flagstone was still warm from the heat of the day, my toes delighted as I leapt from stone to stone careful not to touch the dirt. Not yet. I looked up and around, my hair licking at my eyes. Where? Beneath the orchid tree or the banana leaves? Beside the white ginger and the poinsettia? With my back to the vine covered wall? Or out in the open, my bottom in a mess of grass, my eyes arched out to see?
I chose the orchid tree with its heart shaped leaves and graceful curves. I found a niche and plopped down, just as the show was about to begin.
One drop. Then seven. Then too many to count. I wanted to watch. To be a part of it all. But it came down so sudden. And hard. Harder than any rain I had ever known. Harder than any shower I had ever known! Dirt turned to mud, drops turned to bucket fulls, and the orchid tree sagged. I sagged. My body more soaked than if I had just stepped out from the soul of the storm itself.
First my shirt, then my skirt. Useless. Sticky saran wrap clinging to my skin. I peeled them away then dropped them with a plunk into the middle of the mud. There was no one for at least a mile away. I was in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The middle of some of the heaviest, most uncharted jungle in the world. And while tribesmen knew where we lived, they never came to visit unless a fire was burning. Unless a cake was in the oven. Worry? I was better off worrying about missing my chance!
They always say to dance naked in the rain. At least once before we die. And we always smile when we dream it. When we see it in our mind’s eye. But how many of us dare to do it? How many of you have felt the rain dance on your skin, on your chest, on your belly, covering your face and legs and feet with kisses? And why haven’t you felt orange mud splatter the backs of your legs as you stomp and twirl and fall into a giggling mess upon the ground? Why haven’t you given your Self a gift like that? Yes, why not? For I’ll tell you a little secret: It’s one of the most treasured memories of my entire life.
* * *
Brynne? He sang out from the safety of the covered porch, his voice a muffled cry through the still gushing rain. You ok?
I waved, my smile bigger than it had been all week.
Magic! I yelled, as I gave him a twirl.
My laughter bubbles, rising as fast as the rains dared fall.