As anyone that has lived in Florida for any length of time will tell you, in the summer time, it rains.
The rain, and lightning, appear as regular participants in daily summer time life.
It has to do with weather related factors that I have zero control over. It will rain for 20 minutes or so, and then the bright sun light will reappear.
I live in downtown St. Petersburg, and almost everyday, I take off on my 5 mile run – walk, through old northeast with its uneven red brick streets, past houses for the rich and the not so rich, and then along the bay waters as I trudge back toward downtown.
My daily journey is a wonderful joy because I’m not training for a marathon, but simply exercising for the simple joy to exercise. It’s fun, even when it’s past 90 degrees Fahrenheit with significant humidity.
If I have a packed business schedule, I’ll take my journey early in the morning, or late in the day, sometimes I’ll have to leap over a homeless person sleeping across a sidewalk.
It’s fine with me, I don’t bother them, if they don’t bother me. But it bothers me, I could easily be that person.
I was walking along tonight, I had passed the yacht club and I had jogged past an empty city park when a dark storm cloud appeared above me, and it began an intense rain with streaks of lightning.
Now, if it were a mist or a modest rain without lightning, I’d have kept going.
But lightning is not to be trifled with, so I found shelter under a side-doorway to a tall condominium structure.
After a minute or so, an odd little brown-haired woman with a push-cart joined me under the shelter. She grunted as she carefully wiped off her cart.
We had not made eye contact as she sat down, and then we both silently watched the heavy rain drops smother the city streets, and we listened to the thunder and in time we saw the swells of water current past us and flow down into the over-worked drainage system.
And it was in those quiet moments I felt completely powerless, as I dripped onto the concrete pad with my body’s sweat, and from the salty rain.
I sensed I had nothing to say to her, because she was in a place I could not understand.
I suspected her eyes are clouded with hazy thoughts that would never become clear.
To be clear, she was not trying to pan-handle a dollar from me, she barely acknowledged me as she wheeled under the basic protection the overhang afforded us.
I don’t think it would have mattered if I had handed her a bag full of US currency.
If we had been together on one of the elevators up to my office in a tall building in downtown Tampa, I would have said something about life, or whatnot. I guess it’s my way to manage my emotions as I helplessly get hurdled up without any control over the modern machine that defies gravity with the aid from electricity.
But the diminutive woman that sat near me watching it rain, she was not like most diminutive women.
She lived everyday in her own snow globe, and no amount of money would change her world.
But the one thought I had was that she was a human being, and at some point she had been someone’s baby.
And that I was not any better than her, only I had been a bit luckier in life – be it genetic or other.
I’ll sleep tonight on a really nice bed, within a protected fortress a hurricane will not blow down. But where will she sleep? And well, I suspect anyone reading this would have the same questions.
I don’t know why I share this little snap shot into my life, I guess the experience reminds me to be thankful, and to be humble.