Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A melody in the melancholy

The first thing anyone said to me when I got to the office this morning was "A miserable day out there, isn't it?" I wanted to say it's just rain. Instead, I offered a lethargically affirming "yeah."

I hate doing that.

I don't think of the rain as miserable like most people do. Even yesterday, on my sometimes therapeutically NPR-induced ride home, one of the program’s hosts pegged tomorrow as a "bad day."

"What makes it so bad?" I wondered. "Will I be doing anything different tomorrow than I would if there were no rain?"

So here is tomorrow, rainy tomorrow, with my actions no different than on sunny yesterday. What's more, the rain seemed to add interesting dimensions of character to my otherwise monotonous commute to work. Puddles of water accented dips in the road I hadn’t noticed before. Tree lines in the distance lost detail and were unified in a blue-gray silhouette. An orchestra of hypnotic sounds enveloped my car as a harmony was forged between the road, the pools of water, the tires, the engine, the windshield wipers, and the fresh impact of raindrops against the exterior. Indeed, the world was more alive with sound than on any sunny day.

At some point during the trip, NPR began to air a story that I already heard earlier that morning and found a little hard to listen to. It was an innocuous story, but an interviewee enjoyed stating his name repeatedly like we do on office conference calls to identify our voice before addressing the group. I didn't want to be reminded of office conference calls, so I muted the radio for a moment. In the absence of discernable voices and bumper music, the melody of weather was amplified all around me. Somehow the sounds made me more aware of my surroundings while ushering my mind through thoughts of trivial things; songs, people, memories. It was a moment of serenity I don’t find to often.

More than enough time had passed for the story to finish and my crave for NPR triggered an un-muting of the station. Almost immediately, I missed the transient silence and was conflicted between the rain and the radio. Which to give my ear?

We are told the rain brings life to the world. It quenches the thirst of flowers, trees, animals and humans alike. But today, I allowed myself to discover one more thing it brings. Today I realized it can bring peace. To know it, all I really need is just enough will and I'm able to hear a melody in the melancholy.

If it's still there this evening, the rain will win my ear (but I still love NPR).

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