We are having an unseasonably sunny spell here in the west of Ireland at the moment, and if feels almost as though summer has decided to pop back for a brief visit, to remind us of the heady feeling of warm sun on our faces and walking bare ankled and bare foot. But this follows on from some very wet and windy weather and we are already past the letter C in our newly named storms.
As I notice the swell of people out walking the prom and taking to the sea again in this sunshine I am reminded all too clearly that when the sun doesn’t shine how many of those people I don’t encounter outside. Is it safe therefore to assume that when the sun isn’t shining most people are indoors? This is a worrying trend given that Galway is known for its rainy days and grey skies.
I once read that “weather looks worse through a window”, and it’s something with which I wholeheartedly agree. There are mornings where I will hear the rain hitting the window and question my choice to work outdoors. Waterproofs on and out the front door I quickly realise that the rain is nowhere near as heavy as the noise levels on my window suggest. Children in tow all concerns are quickly erased as their delight at being out in the rain is manifested through chatter and laughter and plenty of splashing.
You see, walking through the rain brings much fun and creates new environments for the children to explore. We love to raise our heads to the sky and stick our tongues out while we are walking to catch raindrops. The puddles that are formed from the rain provide countless opportunities for jumping, running and stamping that inevitably are accompanied by shrieks of delight and much joy. When we arrive at our forest school site the tarp I will have hung over our cuckoo’s nest has gathered water and the children love to listen to the sound of the rain hitting the tarp as we eat our snack. Once the tarp has gathered enough water we will push it up and create a waterfall that is often the absolute highlight of the day. And if you don’t have a tarp the trees themselves will provide shelter in their own small way.
Waiting for the the sun to shine before venturing into the outdoors is like telling children that all conditions in life must be optimal before we can enjoy ourselves. This is an unfortunate message to instill in our children, as too often in life things will not be perfect, and won’t be as we had hoped or planned, but this does not mean that we cannot still make the most of what we have and find joy in the simple pleasures life has to offer.
Next time you hear the rain falling outside, instead of inwardly groaning and thinking that that ruins your plans for getting outside that day, put on the wellys and the waterproofs and head for the great outdoors, or even just as far as your garden or the footpath in front of your house, and notice the delight that the puddles and raindrops will bring to the faces of those with whom you share this adventure.