Summer Storms

Sarah Richmond - Ecuador


August 13, 2014

It rained today.

Coming from Oregon, this really isn’t the most exciting news; but today’s rain was different. It was the kind of rain the grows steadily in the air for days before hand – making your bones heavy and your fingertips crackle with electricity. When the first swollen drops plummeted from the sky, soon followed by the fast pattering of a true downpour, the entire valley let out a collective sigh of release.

I sat curled in my living room, grateful to have what may be my last chance in a long time to watch the weather that my home is so infamous for from the refuge of my couch, with the company of a steaming cup of tea. Even though there was no doubt this was a summer storm, I headed upstairs to don woolen socks and my favorite sweater, and to pretend for a little while longer that I could stay in my personal cloud of comfort and familiarity forever. As I thumbed through my dresser drawers, a familiar stirring tickled my ribs, and knowing that resistance was futile, I traded my pajamas for a well worn pair of running shoes, and headed outside.

A lot of things compelled me to run through a storm that succeeded in drenching me to the bone in a matter of minutes. I ran because I wanted to be a part of the magnificence that is my home covered in clouds and utterly green with fingers of mist. Because in the past few months, I’ve become more conciliatory with the term “quarter life crisis” and astonishingly nostalgic for the high school that I’ve been itching to leave ever since sophomore year.  I ran because I tend to cry a lot even when things are easy, and in the past few months things have been anything but; between constant looming goodbyes and the heart wrenching reality that adulthood may not be as easy as it looks on my favorite sitcoms, crying has come even easier than usual.

But as the streams in the streets grew into rivers, and I shared an elated moment with the only other runner on the bike path, screaming “IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!”, I realized there are other reasons I decided not to stay in my living room. The feeling of my heart sticking to the wet surface of my skin, and my breath exploding out of my lungs to kiss each and every raindrop in the air around me. The smile that cracked my face in two like a bolt of lightning in the sky. The absolute thrill that comes from the reminder that I am indeed alive — terribly insignificant in the scheme of this storm, and the universe — but wonderfully, beautifully alive.  The reasons I ran into the heat of a summer storm, mirror the reasons I’ll be boarding a plane to Ecuador in a matter of weeks.

I ran because in my living room, I was comfortable. Outside, I was absolutely everything else.

Sarah Richmond