Between the Rain

A warm wind was blowing through Geneva on Saturday. The sky was overcast, several layers of dark clouds sliding over each other, the Rhone fast flowing and green like beer bottle glass. I’d decided to go to Birdie for breakfast, because an egg on toast with avocado and smoked salmon sounded like a good idea and they have great coffee.

At this point, my walks are always going to be blog material so I pay attention, which is kind of a win-win in my book because time is precious. I people watched, focused on how I was moving through the city, and hummed the chorus and singing portion of Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out.”

I saw a mostly empty bottle of Beck’s and a plastic cup sitting on a 200-year-old stone windowsill. There were four trash cans within 20 feet, in every direction; the guy or gal who left their trash there had to walk by at least one, or they’d still be standing there.

I saw a crack in a wood-paneled door, and then realized it was too clean so it had been done on purpose, part of the manufacturing process. I saw a spiderwebbed split in a restaurant’s front window where someone had broken the glass, and I thought, is it cracked, or was it split? It’s sophistry, I know, but it tickled my brain.

The clouds broke and it started raining, the kind of fast, heavy downpour that fills the street with sound. People ducked under overhangs and into stores. When I was an active duty Marine, we weren’t allowed to carry umbrellas and training or patrols didn’t stop for rain, so at some point, my brain learned to react to this kind of situation with euphoria.

I ran to the next bit of cover. I peeked around a corner, spotted the next dry spot, and timed the next sprint with a lull in the rain. The wind was still strong and at my back, and for a moment of every step I was flying.

I guess I had this as a kid, but over a decade of obstacle courses and martial arts only made it stronger. There’s joy in movement. For 3 minutes of downpour, in a city that is almost stodgy in what it considers normal and acceptable, I was skimming over the sidewalk, dodging raindrops, humming Chaba’s “Parade” while people hid from the weather and I was utterly happy.

Fast moving river on an overcast day

Fast moving river on an overcast day

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