The sound of rain hitting the nylon walls of a tent is as soothing as a lullabye, a music meant for daydreaming. An all-day rain gives me reason to snuggle under blankets, warm and dry, and take a nap in the middle of the day. On a rainy day at camp, family members disappear into tents and cars, some with books or journals, some with pillows, some with spouses. I can spend hours in my little tent just talking and snuggling with my husband, listening to the patter of the raindrops, or alone with my journal, thinking about the year. A lazy rain at camp is something to savor.
So when a storm moving north arrived at camp on Saturday, I welcomed the cool winds and rain. When the sky cleared for just a bit, I took a sail on my brother's new sailboat, a Rhodes Bantam. All three of us – me, my brother, and my brother's girlfriend – were soon wet just from launching the boat, but we had a great sail, despite the wet clothes that made the fall wind seem chilly. I have years of sailing experience, but my father's boat is the only boat I've ever sailed so it was fun to try sailing a smaller boat that is built for racing. It was less stable than my Dad's boat, but faster. My brother's girlfriend suggested we sail to an island owned by someone she knows, and it took us several tacks to get there. On our way home, the wind was gusty, and we came across the wide river pretty fast, even almost putting the rail under at one point. It's been over thirty years since those faraway summer days when my father used to take my brother and me out on his boat to teach us to sail, but I couldn't help but remember those childhood summers as my brother and I fell into the familiar sailing talk and consulted each other about what to do next: "Hey, let's do a controlled jibe. Then we can go across in a broad reach."
After sailing for a couple of hours I felt chilled through. Back at camp, I peeled off my wet clothes and wet sneakers. Over the goosebumps on my bare skin, I pulled dry socks, dry underwear, dry sweat pants, and the most luxurious item I own, down booties. It is worth it to get cold and wet to have that wonderful sensation of warmth.
The rain let up again briefly early evening, and everyone emerged from tents and vehicles for hot vegetable soup, pasta salad, and cookies. My brother-in-law grilled chicken and veggie burgers. We gathered around the firepit, pulling lawn chairs and picnic table benches close to get near the warmth of a crackling fire. Everyone's socks and sneakers were wet from walking through the wet grasses – or stomping through the many muddy puddles scattered about – so we all shifted to get our cold feet as near as we could to the glowing coals. And despite the nap I had had earlier that day, it still felt good to crawl into my small tent and fall asleep to the pattering of raindrops.