when the rain comes

I’m a little hard to get out of the house.  But Sue mentioned a few days ago that she’s always wanted to see the Minnesota ArtCar Parade, so I thought I could make an effort for once.

The “artcars” (and “artbikes”) drive around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.  We arranged to park the car at the home of some friends nearby and when offered an umbrella, we declined.  While the guy on the radio said there could be some showers in spots that evening, we checked the radar on one of those handy devices and it was all clear.

We were surprised that it wasn’t busier in the area, but we were a bit early.  As we started walking the block or so toward the lake, Sue said, “This is going to be so much fun!”

Once we got there, we decided to walk over to the Rose Garden, where the parade begins.  As we got closer, we noticed that the parkway wasn’t closed off (also a surprise) and that we weren’t seeing much activity, even when we got very close to the garden.  Out came the device again to check the website; sure enough, the parade was the week before.  (We once went to the wrong wedding on the right day, but that’s another story.)

Just then it started to sprinkle, but we were under a huge tree, so we weren’t even getting wet.  At first.  Then it really started to come down.  And then it hailed.  There was no place to go and, with thunder overhead, being up close and personal with the trunk of that tree didn’t seem like a great idea, even though it was our best strategy.  I felt a twinge of the fear that I had when caught in a bad storm in the Boundary Waters.

In no time we were completely soaked.  The rain kept coming and coming, the streets began to flood, and the temperature dropped.  It was a half mile to the protection of the band shell, but eventually we decided to head that way, since we couldn’t get any wetter.  As we walked (and even sort of ran at one point), the rain got even heavier.

The band shell was full of people, but they weren’t as wet as we were, having sought shelter quickly.  The device was consulted again, and it showed a big red blob on top of us that wasn’t moving.  Eventually the sun came out and we walked to the shore of the lake and saw a rainbow touching the water.  Then it started to rain again as we walked back to the car.

One of my favorite songs by The Beatles is “Rain”:

If the rain comes
They run and hide their heads
They might as well be dead
If the rain comes, if the rain comes

Later, “Rain, I don’t mind.”  And still later, “It’s just a state of mind.”

The absurdity of everything made us laugh even as we were caught in the worst of the rain.  In the right place on the wrong day, feeling helpless, and for some reason not really caring too much, but rather being amazed by the whole thing.  It’s just a state of mind.

It turned out that it had rained more than two inches in less than an hour.  As we drove home we saw that not even three miles away there had been no rain at all.

Memories of unexpected downpours in years past – a much more common experience then, without those devices to warn us – always seem to include smiles and laughter.  There’s something wonderful about being caught in the rain, even for a curmudgeon like me.

Surprising even myself, I didn’t mind.

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