Summer is the driest season in Seattle. With the long days and rarity of extreme heat, it is absolutely glorious. I love the summers here. It is also the time of year when I take vacation and when my daughter does not have the stress of school.

This year, the summer seemed longer because I took two short vacations in October. One in Seattle where I acted as tour guide for a friend and the second, a trip to North Carolina from which I returned just a few days ago.

While I was gone, the rains returned in a very big way. It was raining before but we had a major wind and rain storm while I was gone. Our power went out and after trying to fix our land line phone, which I assumed was not working because it was off the hook, I have discovered that it has been out of order for the past week and no one noticed! (Note to friends: It is always better to call my cell, anyway. Note to telemarketers: Bwahahahaha!)

The weather in North Carolina was delightful. The company and sights were rejuvenating. I visited many more different people and places than I typically do on a trip. Part of this was because I had a lot of people to see and I needed to work around their availability. (I actually used a scheduling application to get everyone’s availability so that I could more easily determine the best times to see different people.) I was worried that I would tire myself out traveling, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. I had a wonderful time. And then I came back to Seattle to inclement weather, inside of my house.

I am consistently aware that my family life is stressful. I often forget how very stressful it can get, how much energy daily living can take. And after being welcomed with a drizzle in my house, by the next day there was a storm with ebbs and flows. And although I am still mopping up the extra water and wringing out my clothes, we may have narrowly missed a tsunami last night.

One f the lessons I have learned from walking outside year around is that most bad weather is scarier from the inside of the house. It looks threatening. The rain looks grim and relentless. And just like the summer seems likes it will never end, the shortening fall days can be so disheartening.

Yesterday, I relearned the lesson of the weather. It rained constantly for a good portion of the day. I did not want to walk in it. I looked outside and thought, “How depressing. Bleh.” But I have been off of my exercise routine with plane travel and getting caught up at work so I suited up and ventured outside with an umbrella in my rain coat pocket.

I walked outside. Yes, it was raining but I immediately felt better. There was fresh air. I was moving. There were trees, grass, and flowers. The rain actually made some things look better. The leaves were glossy. There were beautiful water droplets creating light effects and textures on the plants.

I typically feel so much less vulnerable when I put myself into the situation that I am trying to avoid because I fear it. By putting myself in the situation, I can be mindful of it because I can experience it fully. I can see, hear, feel, and taste things that I can’t from within my own home, standing still, looking at the window and feeling stuck, like I belong no where.

I have to be honest. It was hard to come back home after a trip of fun and little responsibility. It is tempting to avoid bad weather, real or threatened. Life brings change, some good, some bad. Walking in the rain is not an appealing notion to most, especially when the seasons are bringing us to cold and dark times.

But when I walk into the rain, my family is there. With them is where my life is and where I want to be.

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