It rained last night in Berlin. It had been awhile. I opened the double doors to our balcony and watched the drops splat onto the metal furniture. The drumming was amplified in the apartment courtyard. Sound bounced off the walls, untimed and full of vibration, like an orchestra warming up before the concert.
My son has been caught in rainstorms before, but was always too little to know it. If and when, he’s always been tucked in a sling at my chest, protected from getting soaked at all costs. Now he’s over six months old. He looks around, notices things, and reaches out to touch them. It was time to experience rain.
His eyes were wide open when I carried him onto the balcony. With each drop that grazed his nose or forehead, he inhaled sharply, jerking his head toward whichever direction it had come from. Rain was wet, and cold, and surprising. We watched drops collect on the table, bouncing and merging into constant new formations. We looked at last year’s dried up balcony plants, too gone to be saved (I made a note to buy new soil). We listened to the drumming in the courtyard, and the snare-drum patter of water collecting in the gutter.
The pandemic hasn’t changed much for my son. He’s too little for playgrounds, so doesn’t know what he’s missing. We spend a lot of time at home, all together. He beams at the friends and family he sees over video calls and reaches for the phone. I’m raising a corona-induced screen addict. He sleeps a lot. His eyes light up at the littlest things: a funny voice, tooth brushing, foot tickling. He’s doing alright.
When the rain falls, it offers relief for the rest of us. The trees may survive the summer. There’s a bit of normalcy during this crazy time. Or, we feel the inconvenience; I need to buy bread, but if I go outside, I’ll get wet. But for my son, rain is new. It’s sensation. It’s an out-of-body experience. I want to go there, too.