Much needed rain has enshrouded north central Texas the last few days. A cold rain, but welcome nonetheless. I stopped at the bookstore and cafe on the way home from work today for a hot coffee and respite of curling up in an overstuffed chair to read. I was reminded of the many times spent doing the same at the bookstores when I lived in Austin. A feeling of comfort and relaxation surrounded by books, fellow java junkies and people immersed in their laptops, books or magazines.
Exiting into the fog and drizzle caused me to slip into a time warp, a strong nostalgia of other times and places in the same wetness: Oregon, Austin, Maine. Somehow, the heavy air seems to blanket and soften everything surrounding you and constricts your environment to your immediate perimeter. Not just physically, but psychologically as well. The world is softened, sounds are muffled, vision is obscured by heavy gossamer air and colors are muted. Reality is shrunk down to yourself, your thoughts, memories and a sampling of life outside of you with few distractions.
Rather than feeling inconvenienced by the water and cold, I stood outside the building looking at droplets glimmer in the soft parking lot lights. Flashes of memories flew by in my mind, along with several faces I normally don't think about and never see anymore. And for an instant I wondered about all the 'if's.
I shook my head inside my hooded coat as if to shake all the ghosts out of my head and send them away scattering across the bricked sidewalk to dissolve in the puddles. There are no 'if's anymore; there is only 'is'. Those faces I once touched and smiled with are gone and I can't bring them back. They now live as stories in my head, short movies with fading playbacks, and voices that I don't recognize anymore.
Life is but a series of connections: some stay, many break and fall astray. Some we wish to hold on to, others we wish would go away. But at times, they all come tumbling back and remind us of who we once were and who we are now. Like the rain falling from the sky.
I smiled, pulled my jacket closer to me, and walked to my truck with a lighter step, enjoying stepping in the puddles and feeling the mist upon my face.