Rainy days like today are the reason I am glad I know how to write. I am pushed inside, pursued by the discomfort of cold wet socks, and then I hole up in a tiny corner with a blanket and a very hot mug of tea. Sometimes I will have a cookie, too, if I think of it and if there are some in the house. This pattern never varies, no matter how warm the weather in between rainstorms. Invariably, the tea and the blanket are not the most comforting elements of this routine. All they do is set the mindset for the very most important one.
Writing. Reading. Words. Every time I go through this routine on messy gray days, I end up with a book in my tiny corner as well as the tea and the blanket. It can be a notebook. It can be poetry. It can be the kind of novel that I would never let anyone see me with. Sometimes it is even my computer, because I am writing a book and notebooks can just get impractical, even though longhand is by far my preferred mode of writing.
It doesn’t matter what it is, the point is that it is a story. The story is what sustains me through the nasty days outside. When I feel particularly cozy, it is because there is a story nearby.
Humans need stories to keep things interesting. We use them to explain bits and pieces of life that we barely even know how to describe. We also use them to exercise creativity, because face it: Sitting alone with a blanket and a mug of tea can be very nice, short-term, but it is also extremely boring without something else to sustain us. So we read. Or we write. Or we listen to music, or watch the outside world as it becomes saturated and sodden, but not drowned, and we take note of our surroundings. Maybe we even draw pictures and imagine the stories behind them.
Again, it doesn’t matter. The whole point is that we find the story. The story wraps around us, and we immerse ourselves in a world that may or may not be our own.
It is a chance to gather our thoughts. It is an escape. It is a place where our hearts can quicken their beatings in response to the adventures of unlikely heroes, or even out as we drift off to sleep, our breathing still in the rhythm of the poem we were just reading. It is the story that makes us feel safe, even as it is the blanket that makes us warm and the tea that makes the atmosphere feel like comfort.
That is why I find stories so important on days like today. I have things to do other than read. But every once in a while, when a day like today comes along, I let the lethargy take over and the responsibility drift away, and I become immersed in something else. I don’t move. I sit in the same spot for several hours until I have almost forgotten where I am, simply from being in a story other than my own. We all need that, I think. We spend so much time in our own heads and our own lives that we forget about the thought processes of other people. And stories, words, creativity, give us a chance to escape the limits of our own heads for a while.
Maybe it isn’t the most important thing in the world to have days like today, but it is important. It is important to our basic natures as humans, simply because we are given the chance to unwind and stretch our perspectives.
In doing so, I believe we can come back to ourselves the better for it.