I think I’m getting old.
Okay. That’s a no-brainer. Of course I’m getting old.
What I actually mean is, I’m getting to an age where looking back on my childhood is suddenly becoming a regular feature in my life. I’m no longer in my teens, when nothing seems important outside of friends and the latest trends, nor in my twenties where my life still seemed to stretch out in front of me as far as I could see and I was going to conquer the world.
I’ll confess. I’m in my thirties and not the front half either.
This isn’t to say that I think I’m on the downhill slide, don’t get me wrong.
According to the NZ Statistics Department I have somewhere between 43 and 48 years left on my clock, so I’m not quite at the halfway mark yet.
But today it is raining. And that provides a direct link back into my childhood.
Once upon a time, some thirty years ago, I was a small child living in a small town. We lived 2 or 3 kilometres away from my primary school, and just across a churchyard from my best friend Elaine.
Every morning Elaine and I would meet at the corner of my road and the one that led to hers. We would walk to school together, rain or shine, warm or cold.
Because we were in the same class, we would walk home together most afternoons as well.
One of the best and most evocative of my childhood memories is of walking home in the rain. To this day I still love it when it rains, especially in spring or summer. I think that there is nothing quite like splashing around in warm rain. As an adult it’s not “the done thing” to indulge in that sort of behaviour, but I have to confess that the mood takes me every now and then and I just have to go out into the back yard and open my arms to the heavens and enjoy the feeling of raindrops hitting my face.
The whole experience of walking home in the rain at certain times of the year was enhanced by arriving home to my Mum, ready at the door with a towel to dry me off. Once towelled to a mild state of damp, I would be whisked off to a warm shower to warm up and once again enveloped in a big fluffy towel to reach a final stage of warm dryness. Once my mother’s seal of approval over my ‘no longer going to get a chill’ dry state, I would be the lucky recipient of the occasional snuggling up on the sofa under a pile of warm blankets with a bowl of steaming soup and the television tuned to an afternoon movie.
Strangely enough, connected with this memory, are the old black and white Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller. And to this day, I’m not sure whether it was this wonderful way of experiencing old adventure movies that has inspired my love of the films traditionally labelled “nostalgia”.
I hope you can see why I love rainy days. It connects me to a period of my life where I was warm, comforted and loved. Who would have thought that something as simple as a walk in the rain, a warm shower, some hot soup, an old movie and a snuggle on the sofa would have had a thirty year impact?
So if you’ll excuse me, I’m just off to stand on my back deck in the rain, after which I will be taking a warm shower, putting on my fluffy bathrobe, taking my bowl of soup to the living room, putting on my DVD of The Maltese Falcon, and snuggling down for a great evening under my duvet on the sofa.
I hope your evening is as wonderful as mine is about to be.