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It's raining. I don't mind the rain and in this, the springtime season of the year, I suppose the frequent wet and cloud-covered days are to be expected. I tell myself that, without the moisture, the spring flowers wouldn't bloom and the grass that was once browned by the cold winter months would not transform its broad fresh blades in the meadows into the emerald colored landscape that signals the coming of summer.

My friend, my wife, Robin, and I lived about 40 miles west of St. Louis, Mo. The home was a two-story country home that rested in the middle of six beautiful acres of land. I recall that my friend and I at first thought some rural living properties somewhat inconvenient -- that is the idea that the mailbox sat atop a post which was at the corner of the gravel driveway and the narrow black-top road.

We joked at the thought that one of us would have to walk the seemingly long distance from the house each day to retrieve letters and such. The downhill walk from the house would require an uphill return stroll with letters and advertisements in hand. I recall that we decided life in the country offered many more advantages than living a city life and the minor inconvenience would be worth it. After all, it was just part of the overall country life experience. Then came that well-remembered day.

The two of us had been shopping and as we approached the entrance to our gravel covered driveway, it began to rain. I remember thinking that the cloudy sky and afternoon rain would surely sour the afternoon to follow and the promise of a beautiful spring day had surely passed.

The car was parked behind the two-story log house and I recall making at least one disparaging remark about the weather as I exited the car and hurriedly walked to open the trunk. As I now find odd, Robin didn't comment on my soured attitude but gathered up a bag or two of groceries and walked toward the rear door. I supposed it was ungentlemanly of me to rush past her with arms full of groceries but, after all, we had been married for quite some time and I suppose that the rain coaxed all the manners out of me.

We carried the bags into the kitchen and, after placing her groceries on the counter-top, she said, "I'm going to walk down and pick up the mail." Now the driveway was only one-eighth mile in length but it was raining. "If you wait till I put the milk in the refrigerator, I'll drive you down there or just drive the car yourself."

This is the part of the tale that prompted me to write this story, the inspiration you might say.

"No thanks, I don't mind the rain. In fact, I kinda like the spring rain. It sort of reminds me that winter has passed and summer will soon be here. The spring rain sort of washes away all the winter dreariness. It makes me feel new."

As I put the milk, butter and eggs in the refrigerator, I couldn't help thinking about Robin's comment. Finally, and after a minute or so, I came to the conclusion that she was right. The spring rain was nothing to avoid but rather something to welcome. Her logic was, as was most often the case, simple and without frills, but often annoyingly true.

I placed the last box of cereal in the cabinet just as Robin opened the back door and walked in. She was soaked but, true to her words, the dampened clothes didn't seem to bother her one bit.

"Well, what was in the mailbox?"

"Nothing," she replied. "There was no mail."

I didn't utter a word or allow the smallest of smiles to come onto my face.

"Oh well," I said as she passed.

Many years have passed and, when I think about those days, I must grudgingly admit that it was a much different time in my life, you know, a time when there was a reason to get out of bed each morning. I'm certain that it was a Saturday afternoon when my wife, Robin shared what at the time seemed to be a seemingly innocuous observation. It's funny how some things just seem to put down roots in our memories and there's just no getting rid of them.

Six dreary and ghastly winters have now passed and it's been 303 weeks since I last saw the eternal optimist and lover of spring rains. Quite predictably, spring came to me this year and, with the warmer and longer days, so too came the inescapable rainy days. There was no doubt that I needed to rid myself of the loneliness and sadness that seemed to find a home within me; so I decided that when the next raindrop fell I would let it wash those terrible feelings from me.

I stood there in that moderate rain for what seemed like a very long time, hoping that the droplets of water would birth a change in me. The minutes passed, but my feelings of sadness and loneliness were in no way exiled from within me. I suppose I was wishing for and, yes, praying for what some might call an epiphany, but none was to come. The moisture which fell from heaven in no way caused harm to me but what lived there inside me during the long cold winter was still there.

There are times when I seem to forget that once the clouds have vanished from the darkened sky, the sun brightens the once gloomy day and creates a pallet of blue onto which a new and fresh day can be painted. I still often try to run between the raindrops fearing that -- and I can't explain why -- the moisture from the sky might in some way be harmful. It's following those moments that I remember my old friend and the spring rain.

For some time, and for the years that followed that rainy afternoon, we made the downhill walk to the mailbox together. The walk seemed a good time to talk about jobs, kids and, yes, the weather while the return uphill stroll was spent perusing the cards, letters, bills and contents of the envelopes. I now very much regret that some of those walks ended with unfinished conversations.

I have now considered Robin's proposed remedy for the winter blues and have concluded that her cure was quite preposterous. Maybe some people are just not meant to feel clean. I once had a friend, a very special and dear friend with the most captivating sparkling eyes, and a friend like no other that I've had since, one who could put the coldness of winter behind her and feel the pleasing touch of the spring rain, one who could once again become new and fresh.

Stan Fine is a retired police officer and Verizon Security Department investigator who, after retiring in 2006, moved from Tampa, Fla., to Noel, Mo. Stan's connection to Noel can be traced back to his grandparents who lived most of their lives there. Stan began writing after the passing of his wife Robin in 2013. Opinions are those of the author.

Sports on 05/30/2019

Print Headline: The Healing Properties of Spring Rain

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