It’s Raining in Colorado

It is my birthday and it is raining, which is a fine thing.  I moved to Colorado 14 years ago, not knowing that it does not rain on the Front Range between October and April.  Not a drop.  One year it rained for 10 minutes in February and people got out of their cars and looked at the sky and then checked the calendars on their iWatches.

When Cathy began teaching here, she got a blank stare from her third graders when she said, “April showers bring May flowers.”  They thought she might be slightly deranged.  I mean, her New York accent had already thrown them off.  “Wait, Mrs. Williams, how do you eat an ahrange?  What is an ahrange?  And there are no April showers.  There are April snowstorms.”

Two weeks ago it snowed 24 inches.  I had to use my industrial sized Mac truck of a snowblower, the one that warms the earth two degrees every time you fire it up.  Then lo and behold, just 15 days later I pulled out my Honda lawnmower to give my lawn its first cut of the season.  For the 12th straight year, it started on the first pull.  (That’s why you pay twice as much for a Honda.)

I needed the lawnmower not because of April showers, but because 24 inches of wet melting snow wakes up a sleeping lawn.  When I mowed the lawn yesterday, the lawn had no idea the coronavirus was going on.  It was yawning and wiping the dandelions from its eyes and grateful for the haircut.  It didn’t hear me muttering under my breath, “Yeah, you get a haircut, while my hair looks like I’ve been manning a remote outpost on a Pacific atoll since WWII.”

But back to this morning’s rain.  Colorado gets 300 days of sunshine a year.  And when I say sunshine, I don’t mean like Dublin, where they say, “Did you see that?  Over there?  The clouds parted for five seconds.  It was glorious!”  No, in Colorado we see the sun all day, 300 days a year.  When the rains finally arrive in May, we rush outside and watch the foothills turn green before our eyes.  The prairie grasses get all happy and  prairie dogs run around the fields hanging from lampposts, holding their little umbrellas.  It’s really cute.

You can’t see the mountains, but you know they are there because of those 300 days when you see them reaching out to touch the sky.  So, when the rains come, you take comfort in the mountains and their unseen stability.  Today is one of those days when I need that unseen stability.

The fox showed up in the backyard this morning, the red one.  He drank from my water feature because the water is fresh for a change, instead of the recirculated stale stuff that’s usually there.  He looked up longingly at the doves on the birdfeeder, then stared through the window as if to say, “You know, you could have put that birdfeeder closer to the ground.  Just sayin…”  Ever since we’ve all been quarantined, the fox talks to me a lot.  He’s lonely too.  Just the other day he was telling me about being chased by a mountain lion the night before.  I did not have much sympathy.  I said, “Well, now you know how the chickens feel.”  But I digress.

Today’s rain is misty, the kind I liked to run in when I lived on the south shore of Long Island.  It feels good on your face and breeds contentment in your bones.  Unlike a cold, hard rain, the mist quenches your soul’s thirst for all that is close in and nurturing and good.  These are hard times, with attacks coming from unseen forces, like viruses.  You protect yourself and trust in the truth of things.  You pull in and wrap yourself in a wool sweater and let the cool mist fill your lungs and pretend you are back in Dublin in an earlier time, before viruses and losses and such.

The doves left the birdfeeder and the robins returned, and I went out in the mist to refill the feeders and take a quick picture of the misty view to the southwest where the hidden mountains beckon.  When I got back in the house a Lazuli Bunting was eating at the feeder.  No, I’m not a birdwatcher.  I know exactly two Colorado bird species by name.  Mr. and Mrs. Bunting are here all the time, along with the Tanager family.  They all seem to get along well.  I think they vacation together.

Then I came back inside for my second cup of tea.  I’m drinking from the blue Cath Kidston mug a kind person sent me after my first one shattered on the kitchen floor.  The broken one is carefully gathered on a dinner plate that sits on my bedroom dresser.  I was going to glue it back together, but I actually prefer it sitting there broken into a thousand tiny pieces.  It reminds me you can be shattered and still be a thing of beauty.

I am going to go out running in a while, but I want the mist to be just right, Long Island consistency, drops large enough to kiss your face but not cause you to inhale any viruses.  Because, well, you know.

And so it goes.

 

 

24 thoughts on “It’s Raining in Colorado

  1. What a beautiful column. Paula. I’m in NC, and I have 2 nieces and a few friends in CO, so how good it is to read a description of a place where the weather differs so much from mine! Linda Stroupe Greensboro. NC PFLAG GSO Pres

    On Sat, May 2, 2020 at 12:42 PM Paula Stone Williams wrote:

    > Paula S Williams posted: ” It is my birthday and it is raining, which is a > fine thing. I moved to Colorado 14 years ago, not knowing that it does not > rain on the Front Range between October and April. Not a drop. One year > it rained for 10 minutes in February and people got out” >

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  2. I lived in that beautiful state–Golden and other places around the Denver-area. Absolutely love it and still miss seeing those mountains and–yes–the rains! Also loved the fact that the snows, even though heavy, usually never lasted long!

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  3. Happy birth day Paula, I’ve just watched two of your Tedx presentations. I had never heard of you before this. I stumbled across you as I was looking through youtube searching for videos on forgiveness. Out of the corner of my eye, five little square pictures down I saw your picture and a title “I’ve lived as a man & a woman…
    Then I went on to search for more. “What I’ve realized about men”. I enjoyed both of your presentations. The mixture of humor and pragmatism that elucidates without insulting is lovely to listen too. A good example in how to communicate across a gap in understanding. In technology there is no forward compatibility, only backward because what hasn’t been incorporated/imagined can’t be fully accommodated. To live with both sides of knowing is always a unique experience.
    I hope you have a great run.

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  4. Happy Birthday, Paula. As I was running/walking this morning (just felt like a day where pushing hard was not a good thing) and heading home through the cool grey mist, I was feeling relief, and realized that this very undemanding weather we’re having is something I’ve been needing. Way too much going on in my life, having to be more adult than I might wish, and circumspect when a full fit feels more appropriate. So thank you cool Colorado day. Even those of us who like the sun need quiet now and again.

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  5. Happy birthday Paula! You share it with me. I enjoy your posts after watching one of your Ted talks a few years back (where you talking about authenticity really struck a chord). All the best from NZ.

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  6. As a transplant to Manitou Springs from Illinois, I had not realized how much I took the rain and thunderstorms for granted. Not that I did not love them to the deep of my bones – I simply did not know that there were states where this was not a regular event. Surprisingly, I have learned to love the snow, how it falls in feet but then largely melts by the next day. But you captured my own homesick blues for rainy days stretched out end to end completely.

    BTW, I found you on YouTube and loved your Ted Talk so very much that I had to search your name, and landed here. You are such a blessing on this earth, and an authentic being radiating the love of God. Thank you for your testimony and truth. ❤

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  7. Paula,

    I sort of met you once at CCV in Royersford, PA. You were there as a weekend “special guest”. I was ushering that weekend, and saw you in the cinema hallway in a hurray to get to where you were running. I remember very well the look of torment on your face. You did not want to have to pretend one more minute that you liked the lie you were living. I am profoundly proud of the person that you are. And your bravery to live the life you have known to become ypur truth is admirable. You were, and probably still are, one of the most engaging spiritual speakers I have ever had the pleasure to hear. I hope you will always seek God’s love for you as Paula. I am forever changed by your wisdom and love of others.

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