This is living.

She shudders as the thunder blankets the sky.  Her reaction is to hide, to withdraw inside of the house, herself, a book, anything.  Sheets of rain driven by powerful winds rush by the window.  The movement of the individual rain drops down the glass and the immense force that they command together frightens her so much that rationality is abandoned.  Rubber boots are adorned instead of logic.  The umbrella is left lying under the tackle box in the closet, her mothers warnings are left unheeded by ears that need to hear the wind in its full force.

The wetness is trapped in her clothing.  It wraps around her tightly, clinging to her skin.
She runs.  The neighbors peer from behind their gingham curtains and wonder why she must run, never once thinking that they must run as well.  She doesn’t notice.

There is renewal in the rain and joy in the puddles.  The rain forms moving walls that travel down the road.  She laughs and runs after something that is impossible to catch.

Mud splashes with every step, barely noticeable on her legs and shorts that are saturated with water.  She does not stop running.

Until she does stop and opens her eyes and her arms because this is the time to create a photograph.  This is the time to be symbolic and embrace the rain.  The smile is small but it has started from the heart and it cannot be stopped.  Exhausted, she lets her hands fall, palm-down, over her head, onto the ground that is so wet that it accepts the hand prints willingly as they impress into the mud.  Her body forms an arc.  Slowly, she lowers the spine and lets it mold into the ground.

Eyes closed she lays there, soaking in the water from the earth and from the clouds.  The thunder no longer blankets the sky.  Each peal moves through the clouds on a diagonal, followed by a slight turn of the head.  Sunshine replaces the darkness but the rain has a steady, lulling, consistency.

Each drop feels like it will pierce her skin as it lands on her legs and arms but the way it kisses her lips balances the pain.  This is living.

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