Last Sunday, after what felt like 40 days of rain, I took my 3.5 year old daughter out for a rain walk. We put on our raincoats, our rain boots, and our rain hats, and set out on the Seaview Trail in Redwood Park.
The bay tree and redwood forest was so dense and green it almost hurt your eyes. The ferns and moss were damp and dripping, though no rain was actually falling. And I thought, "Great, we'll walk a mile or so to a beautiful look-out point, see the clouds pouring over the Golden Gate Bridge, have a snack, and walk back." A goal, a destination, a reward, and home--what a fine plan.
Three minutes down the trail, we came upon a mud puddle. A substantial mud puddle, deep and squishy, with enough mulch to leave footprints and make a sucking sound when you tried to pull your boot up. And my daughter declared that this was "home." She didn't want to walk any further. She didn't want to see the view. She wanted to stomp and smush around in the puddle and play that we lived there--mud pillows, mud blankets, mud pies for breakfast. So that's what we did.
No view, no completion, no achievement--just playing with what we found on the path.
As avidly as I set my adult goals and destinations, in times like these, especially, it helps to be reminded that stopping and stomping in the mud puddles is the real purpose of the journey we're on. What seems like an annoying detour, inconvenient and messy and sticky, can, with the right pretending, be the place where we make ourselves at home.