"Here in the valley, the rain returns tomorrow" said the familiar voice on the radio. That meant that there was one thing I knew I had to do immediately after reaching home--my favorite five-mile walk by the river.
Only after moving to this part of the world do I truly experience the "make hay while the sun shines." Back in the old country, with the abundant sunlight and heat for most of the year, it was not the rare sunny day that we looked forward to. Here, I seem to have become a sun worshiper. No different from the Swedish student who, when she visited with us during my California years, struck a pose in the middle of the road with her face pointing upward to absorb the sun. "This is how we stand when the sun comes out" she said. It is up here in these latitudes that we really need to do the surya-namaskaram.
I am always amazed that people would walk by the river and not listen to the sounds all around. The sound of the river, especially when it crashes over the boulders. The birds chirping. The kids expressing delight, and some crying. Instead, they prefer to plug their ears with the artificial sounds from gadgets. To each his or her own, yes, but ... seriously?
As always, lost I was in my own thoughts when a couple of bikes whizzed past me with one yelling to the other "don't bike with your mouth open in spring time." I am assuming that was an advice a tad too late for the other. In cultures where eating bugs is a part of everyday life, will they worry about biking with the mouth open?
I had to pass two women, but had to pull back when I heard a voice yell "bike on the left." The sound rushed in and faded out. That was one speeding bike, whose sounds could have easily demonstrated the Doppler Effect!
As I drew even with the women, the one talking on the phone said, "so, you are in the hospital now?"
I suppose every one of us by the river have our own stories. It just so happens that our respective paths intersected for those brief seconds. I wondered who was having a bad time that required a hospital visit. A hospital is no Disneyland, I thought to myself.
"Sure, put her on" she said as I started outpacing them.
I didn't have to wonder too long--her voice shifted into the higher pitch and a slower delivery that we typically use when talking with kids. "I'm sorry you're not feeling well, sweetheart" she said. I was soon out of earshot.
Not the Disneyland that the kid would have hoped to go to. On a wonderfully sunny spring day, the kid is in the hospital instead of rushing around and having a great time.
But then the cosmos doesn't stop for anything or anybody. Misfortunes occur every single day, every single minute. And when they occur, even the best day in paradise could be worse than the worst day in hell. All the more why we need to make hay while the sun shines.
Tomorrow is another day.