Last night, as I put the kids to bed, the thunder rolled in the distance and I could feel the heaviness in the air. I had seen the darker clouds above me as I drove home but they had been silent and yet very present. As my son crawled into bed, I could smell the rain. You know what I am talking about here. The smell of the warm pavement, cooling as the rain washed over it. I breathed in and out, enjoying the memories that went along with that smell.
I knew I would always be someone to love nature and help people. Little did I know that my life would veer me into Chinese Herbal Medicine in order to combine the reality. But one memory in particular always sticks out: The Grand Tetons and the passing storm. You see, my family traveled in a Ford Four Star motorhome in my childhood. My father loved to drive and experience nature with us. My mother, a teacher, loved the new experiences and seemed to always have of way of making learning fun. We would go for 1-2 weeks at a time, driving the entire West Coast.
One vacation, we went to the Grand Teton National Park. At that time, the majestic beauty of it all didn’t really sink in but now looking back at the beautiful landscape and rich forest, it was absolutely breathtaking. There is a lake there, Jenny Lake, where we parked the camper and had lunch one day. The slope down to the lake was rocky but the view was awesome! The Grand Teton mountain itself was in the center of the range on the other side of Jenny Lake, it’s reflection in the still lake was amazing. My bother and I wanted to go swimming (we always wanted to go swimming) so off we went, in our bathing suits, into the freezing water! Of course it was melted snow water from the range so needless to say, we didn’t last long. Out we came, warmed up in our towels and then by the sun. My mom started lunch and everyone went inside, except for me. I stayed out, to sit in the sun for a while. My mom told me there was a passing storm approaching at the far end of the lake and that I needed to come inside. She showed me how to ‘read the water’. I saw the clouds but didn’t move. I like to think she knew it would be a warm front so she let me stay out but either way, I watched the front move towards me. It was slow and deliberate in it’s movement. I was fascinated by the fact that I could see the pattern of the falling rain move across the lake as it drew near where I was laying, face down on the rocky beach. When it had finally gotten to where I was, I noticed it was quiet and sunny at the far end of the lake, as if the front had never been there. Yet, here I was feeling the rain on my back, watching the rocks soak up the drops. It was a warm rain and it was beautiful. The clouds continued to move on and the sun came out from the shadows. I remember looking across the lake at the mountain range thinking, if they see this on a frequent basis, no wonder they are so majestic. I got up from my lying place and I could see the rocks under me were dry, never touched by the experience of the rain this time. But I know I was.
And as I sit here typing, I notice the meadow flowers my daughter had picked last Sunday are in need of water. So do the sunflowers I had picked. I watered them and thanked them for their beauty.
With the smell of rain still on my mind from last night and that memory at Jenny Lake, I remember speaking aloud to my son last night, “Ooh buddy, you’ll be able to go to sleep smelling the rain.” A blank stare was seen as he tried to figure out what I meant by that comment. I know some day he will honestly know what I mean.