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After the Storm Comes Puddles

20 October 2014


The sentiment wants to go immediately to rainbows.

There’s always a rainbow after the rain.

It’s a nice thought. Because rainbows are kind of a universal symbol of hope and beauty – maybe even mystery and/or divinity – so it’s comforting to be able to sit in the middle of a storm and look forward to the beauty that will come of it.

And when it does come, it’s stunning. We sit and we marvel at a ribbon of color suspended in the sky. We comment on the vibrancy of the tones, the length of its arc. We remember grade school science experiments with prisms in shoeboxes, and we admit – if only to ourselves – that even though we know how we’re still fascinated by the mystery of the why.

But the truth is, there isn’t always a rainbow after the rain. In fact, rainbows are kind of the exception. I don’t expect to see a rainbow after every rain. I don’t look for it. I don’t get confused when I don’t see one. When we do see them, we point and we pull out our smartphones and we make sure everyone else sees, because it’s not normal.

There isn’t always a rainbow after the rain.

Sometimes storms end and the sky is still dark. Sometimes the clouds don’t move on right away. Other times the sun does break through, and you’re just not in the right place to catch the light refracting through the moisture in the sky: there’s a rainbow for someone else, but not for you.

After a few storms come and go with no rainbow, you start to realize that the platitudes aren’t true. There isn’t always beauty stretched above us after every storm. Light does not always break in right away and do magical things to help us forget the gray.

There isn’t always a rainbow, but there are always puddles.

And if my son has taught me anything, it’s that puddles are freaking awesome. 

Market 1Red 1

You don’t have to go find them: they’re in the same place every time. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re very down-to-earth. Walk through them and listen to the gentle splashing of soft waves. Run through them – stomp through them – and laugh with them. Kick them, poke them, throw rocks in them, float leaves in them … You can actually touch puddles, and some people don’t like them for that – they think puddles are annoying, but it’s just because they’re wearing the wrong shoes.

Wherever there is a hole, a pit, a dip, or a crack, you will have a puddle after a storm. It’s not a permanent filling, but it can create a little bit of joy where there wasn’t any before. Rainbows are a perk, puddles are a guarantee. You could get a rainbow after a storm, but you can’t not get puddles.

HomeRobots Squat

If you really want a comforting thought to hold onto in the middle of the storm, remember that when it’s over – and it will be over eventually – there will be puddles.

You may get a rainbow, and I hope that you do. You can gaze out your window at it, and wonder at the beauty. But whether or not you get a rainbow, you will get puddles. So when the storm is over – if you even want to wait that long – put on some rubber boots and go stomp and dance and throw rocks.


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