Feeling Wellie

By Anna Mitchael

We’re getting into that season in Texas when rain clouds are hard to spot

Im not going to say they’re as rare as people who have happy things to say about the state of the world right now, but it’s close.
When the land gets so dry that the heat rises up off it in mini steam clouds, I always find myself wishing for more rain. When I think of rain in any way, I think of puddles. And when I think of puddles I think of my oldest son who, about eight years ago, loved nothing more than splashing in a puddle. I’m not talking about a splash an adult might give, leaning as far to the side as possible while putting one foot in, so that you don’t get really wet. Or splashing just enough to catch the “moment” for social media.

No, this kid was all in. As soon as he spotted a puddle, his whole body would tense with joy and excitement, and then he would rev up to run. When he got within jumping distance he would take to the air, tucking tight like a cannonball so at the last minute he could release his feet and slam them both down at the same time in the water.

During those toddler years he had a pair of rain boots that were blue. Mostly they stood in a neat pair by the front door, at the ready in case we would leave the house with the express purpose of jumping in puddles. But, as you might know, puddle jumping is hard to plan in Texas. It’s more likely our puddles are made from a sprinkler that overshoots a yard and drenches the cement. So mostly the boots were mentioned in conversation as objects of regret. “If only I had my blue rain boots on.” Not because he desired to keep his socks or sneakers dry, but because wearing rain boots when you splash in the puddle makes the experience that much awesomer — everyone knows that. Or at least, now you do.

For a couple of weeks when he was starting to talk and learning the names of things, I tried to get him to call his blue boots “wellies.” Not because we are British, but because the British chose such a better word for rain boots than we did. And sometimes you just have to concede to the winner. Say it to yourself right now and see if it isn’t more fun: wellies. Just the sound of it makes me want to eat some French fries named chips while I peer out the window, praying for rain.

And lookey there. Here we are. About three to four minutes since you started reading. Which means you went three to four minutes without thinking that the world is the pits, that the half of the country with different political leanings has rocks for brains, or how your face mask makes it hard for you to smell anything other than what you had for breakfast. That’s a small victory. And once you have one small victory, there’s really nothing stopping you from just revving up and leaping for another.

There may not be any puddles out there, but in a world that’s less than ideal sometimes you have to turn your sprinkler toward the cement. After this we just have Hotgust and Hottember. So get excited, y’all. It’s July. Let’s jump in.