Significant rainfall has finally come to central California. Today I was standing under my umbrella, waiting for a traffic light to change when I had a flashback. It was raining hard and I didn't want to get wet, so I was impatient for the light to change. But the short delay gave me an opportunity to step out of myself and live in the moment. I realized I was enjoying the rain! And the joy triggered a memory.
The minimal shelter of my umbrella reminded me of the small poncho-tarp I used on my Calendar Triple Crown. It too was very small. Both are just big enough to keep me dry.
In my home or in my car I expect to stay dry. But the abundance of shelter allows me to take it for granted. Under a small open shelter, however, the rain is within reach. The line between wet and dry is right there and that small patch of dryness, just large enough to get a good night's sleep in is suddenly very rare and precious. It's like someone who barely survives a close brush with death. The fact that their life could have ended moments ago makes them appreciate the life they have right now, right in this moment. And that appreciation is the very definition of gratitude. Whether you believe life is a gift or just a fortunate happenstance, gratitude for that life is the key to happiness. We need only recognize that what we already have is of great value.
It's a lesson the trail taught me years ago, but I managed to forget in my too-comfortable life. I'm glad the feeling came back today!