It’s raining. This is not an unusual sentence to hear in the Pacific Northwest, but we’re near the end of July, and it’s raining as if it were spring: a cold, hard rain that won’t let up. I reluctantly turn on my gas fireplace and huddle near it with my dog Abbe and glumly look out the rain-streaked windows.
I’m in a sour mood, and the rain gives me an excuse to be even more cranky. Where’s our summer? It’s not fair! I want it to be different!
And then I remember something: I really like the rain. I like the way it helps me narrow down the possibilities for the day. I like the way it tells me: You can stay inside and write! You can make soup! You can read!
I don’t have to worry about the newly planted bamboo. I don’t have to drag the heavy hose around the yard and water all my pots of delicate pansies and violas. The tomato plants are deep green; the lettuces that I thought were done suddenly spring to new life. The deck is washed clean.
I’m still a little cranky–I won’t pretend this minor revelation changed everything about the day. But I did relax a little bit. I picked up the book I’ve been reading: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and I was able to fall again into this world of weird miracles: where a mother’s cells outlive her a thousand times over. The writing in this book is superb—a compelling combination of research, biography, and story. It’s a book that took a lot of patience and faith to write, many years of searching out an elusive truth.
I’d like to cultivate such patience in myself and in my writing. I’d like to remember that not everything has to happen in an instant, though this world appears to be so instantaneous. I’d like to follow the example of the rain and the plants that receive it with such equanimity.
For just 15 minutes today, write about something you think you dislike, and find something to like about it. Or tell us about something you’ve been reading lately that tells you something about yourself or your writing life.
Wishing you a patient and slow week,