Years ago when my grandson, Damian, was a toddler, he and I were enjoying a nice spring day in the yard. Superficially, we were planting annuals in the flowerbeds. More importantly, we were doing what granddads and grandkids are ought to do, the important work of play. That day our work, our play, was among the dirt, the earthworms, and the little packets of begonias.
The mild, inviting warmth of a springtime sun added to our enjoyment. It bathed the backyard with a bright welcome, urging renewal and rebirth from winter's dreariness. As we turned the warm soil and decided how to arrange the flowers, I noticed a cool breeze sweep across the yard. Looking to the sky, I saw distant clouds, heavy with the dark gray of moisture, beginning to move in our direction. We continued sharing time and task and in a short while the heavens above us began to darken.
"We'd better finish up, buddy," I said. "It's about to rain." No sooner had I spoken than I felt a drop of water hit my arm. Then another. And another.
"Wain, pawpaw." Damian blinked as drops began to wet his face.
"Yep, rain," I answered. I hurried to pat the soil around the few remaining begonias and then the skies let loose. Rain. Buckets of water poured from the sky, and even as I rushed to close the bag of potting soil in a furtive attempt at utility, we were soaked. I reached around to scoop Damian into my arms and rush to the shelter of the awning on the back stoop, but he was already on his feet. Laughing, jumping up and down as if the deluge had been planned for our personal amusement, he held his wet palms outward to show me what I was missing.
"Wain, pawpaw," he explained. He clapped his hands and splashed his shoes in the tiny puddles forming on the lawn. Innocent, twinkling eyes looked at me for confirmation. It took a second, but I understood.
A big smile crossed my face and I held my palms outward in response. "Yep, rain," I said.
Prudence and wisdom might dictate that I pick up the little fellow and head to the house. But in the absence of thunder or lightning or truly threatening weather, standing there in the midst of a refreshing, renewing spring shower, the shelter of the stoop no longer seemed to matter. I marched goofily across the backyard with Damian in tow, stomping puddles along the way, our water-logged clothes and squishy sneakers paying homage to the peculiar site of a man and child sloshing about like ducks.
Shortly, Luci appeared at the back door, disappeared, and returned with an armful of towels. As quickly as it arrived, the rain left, and the sun smiled brightly in its wake. We headed indoors. Wrapping the towels around us, I hugged Damian close to my chest and walked into the kitchen.
"We're soaked," I said.
"Wain good," he answered.
Kissing his forehead, I carried him upstairs to change clothes. Yes, I thought, wain good.
There is important work to be done as we make our way through life. There are seeds to plant, soil to cultivate, weeds to pull. Gardens of life need tending and renewing as surely as beds of flowers in our yards. And just as certainly, we can expect that dark clouds may gather at seemingly inopportune times. Rain will most likely follow. When it does, it is sometimes wise to seek shelter. The awning on the stoop is only a few feet away. Other times, though, there's nothing wrong with splashing in the puddles and getting yourself completely drenched. If you do, you might find, like Damian, that the deluge was just the kind of thing that seemed planned to give you joy.