By: Gabriela Yareliz
I am up like a kid, under the covers while the space heater hums in the background, waiting to get in trouble because I should be asleep. There is no one to berate me. My apartment still has a coolness to it from having the window open all day.
Yesterday’s rain reminded me of the brutal summer thunderstorms we would experience in Virginia. The red clay would turn into mud under our feet, and the humidity would make every piece of fabric stick to your skin. As a summer camp counselor, I remember the nights we would have to take our tent portion of the camp to drier grounds when the rains would pour. The lightning would light up the forest and snap the trees in half as we would race around in a frenzy taking campers to the cabins and/or sturdier buildings.
We counselors would finish the night drenched and talking to each other softly into the night in the room where we had taught cooking classes the day before. Blue skies always followed. Today was our blue sky here in NYC.
I woke up and the sky was blue. Not one cloud. I found a little line of tiny black ants marching into my orchid pot. No idea where they came from. After spending a good amount of the morning trying to murder ants and then when I failed convincing myself it was good to have company, I started my new book.
I miss walking outside. I did yoga because it felt like my back was going to break from so much sitting.
It was nice to come near the open window. To see the light pouring in. To smell the spring air. Places sometimes make you hyper aware of the smells, sounds and light. It’s like a memory is recorded in that moment. Those are the moments of presence we remember forever. I surely won’t forget yesterday’s howling winds.
Many of my memories revolve around rain. Moments like my father riding his bike through the rain past a patch of daffodils, with kindergarten me perched up on his bike with him. The late night downpours in rural Virginia or running through Paris in a summer hail storm. Moments record themselves in our memories. How does the brain know which ones to keep? I am not quite sure— but I am grateful for the beauty and warmth they bring us. The truth is, we never know which moments we will keep forever. So, stay alert. Breathe. Take a pause and look around. Remember it all.
Sometimes, it’s the most ordinary moments that we never forget. Sometimes, the storms are more memorable than the recovery. We usually remember the downpours and the euphoria we gained in them, when the sun starts to shine.
Sometimes, it takes a storm to remind us that we are alive.