Raindrops pelted down the window as puddles grew larger outside. I pulled my jacket tighter, dreading the damp that was sure to leak into my “water-proof” outer layer. Living in Portland for over a decade, I should be used to our wet winters, and maybe I am. But that does not mean I don’t still whine out loud or at least inside my head when the gray season begins. My sandals would be living in the back of the closet for months while I switched between coats each day so that they could take turns drying at night. I love falling asleep to the sound of a downpour; not walking outside into one.
A few hours later, having made it through the morning storm, I stood near a window and crunched into an apple. Even from a floor up and through glass protection, I could hear shouts of joy down below. Stepping closer, I could see down into the playground where preschool kids were running around laughing and splashing into the puddles that had cause me such “ugh.” One little one rolled happily down the hill, with jacket only halfway zipped up and a smile that could light up the neighborhood.
Where grown-ups in this city may have seen wet socks, muddy hands, or ruined hair, these children saw only freedom and fun. And perhaps, to quote a New Zealand scientist I heard this week, the chance to say “Who gives a fig?” Wet clothes get changed. Muddy hands get washed. And ruined hair can be hidden under a hat. There are mountains out there to climb, or at least slides to ride, that won’t wait for the next sunny day.
Race you to the top.
#52sparks is my year-long writing series based on an art prompt challenge. The title is inspired by a quote from Star Wars: The Last Jedi: “We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron). The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. So just imagine what hundreds of inches and words can do.