Marilyn Englander: A Hike On A Rainy Day

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 (Marilyn Englander)

The season’s first blessed rains arrived last weekend, so Marilyn Englander made good use of the rainy day. She took a hike.

Where I grew up, it rained all the time. A sunny day was a miracle. It felt like a crime to stay indoors when the sun was out.

By now I’ve lived in California most of my life, but until this fall, I never thought I’d change my attitude about the weather. I still worship sunshine. Then, as September turned to October and October to November, weeks slogging by dry, cloudless, I’d scan the skies morning and night in hope of plump, wet clouds. No luck.

So when the first rain arrived, I couldn’t contain my joy. It was chill and blustery, the warm house much more inviting than the outdoors. My instinct was to stay in and make chocolate chip cookies. Instead, when my grown-up daughter called to ask if our hiking date was still on despite the wet, I pivoted and said, “Of course."

We drove to the mountain COVID-style, masked up with the windows opened wide, cold wind whipping our hair. By the time we parked at the trailhead, we needed to hike briskly to get warm again.

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Under dripping bay trees, skirting foamy puddles, we trudged up a fire road into denser trees. Sheets of water poured off branches as the wind kicked around. The fine dry dirt of August had turned to deep, slippery mud underfoot. Our boots began taking on water at the ankle and wet penetrated steadily into our shoulders.

But we felt jubilant. The downpour was noisy, making conversation difficult. But all around us the mountain was shouting and laughing with joy. There was almost no one out that stormy day, only us two madwomen among the packs of teenage boys on mountain bikes who careened through the small lakes that formed in every dip — red-cheeked, in shorts despite the cold, whooping and yelling. They were the personification of our spirits as we gratefully celebrated the long-awaited magic of rain.

With a Perspective, this is Marilyn Englander.

Marilyn Englander is a North Bay educator.