“Oh, I couldn’t possibly go to sleep! So many lovely things have happened today!”
– Jane Banks in Mary Poppins
We here in western Washington have been experiencing a dearth of rainy days. It is… well… weird. In the olden days there was a wonderful unpredictability about the weather – a delightful little frisson of anticipation that began the day – I couldn’t ever be sure if I’d be living through a rainy day or a sunny day. I became adept at preparing for either one – rain ponchos and sunglasses were both kept near at hand. And I learned to view sunshine as a gift – I always felt kind of guilty if I was ever inside when I could be outside in the sun gardening, biking, walking, hiking. But this summer we have become southern California. And the thrill is gone.
So today I decided I’d give myself a “rainy day” – in spite of the fact that the sunshine outside my windows was telling me that there was no rain in my future. Details, details…
I made a blueberry-blackberry pie from berries I picked in our garden, made a couple quiches with eggs from our hens, and sat down with a nice cup of tea to watch television. Watched Longmire for the first time – great writing, great acting, and a lot of death and destruction and stuff. After an episode and a half of that, I suddenly found myself with a real yearning to watch – of all things – my old VHS copy of Mary Poppins – an artifact from those rainy days of the past when the sons were little shavers and we’d sit all cozy on the couch together and watch Disney movies.
I’d forgotten how great Mary Poppins was – packed full of life lessons and wonderful messages. I found myself laughing out loud when the “I Love to Laugh” scene came on. I smiled when “Burt” saved the fox in the fox hunt. And these lyrics made me think of the “education reform” that many public school teachers find themselves dealing with today:
The children must be molded, shaped and taught
That life’s a looming battle to be faced and fought
If they must go on outings
These outings ought to be
Fraught with purpose, yes and practicality!
They must feel the thrill of totting up a balanced book
A thousand ciphers neatly in a row
When gazing at a graph that shows the profits up
Their little cup of joy should overflow!
I really needed Mary Poppins today. I needed to laugh. I needed to be a little silly. I needed to hear cheery music, and watch nimble chimney sweeps leaping across rooftops, and see people treating each other with decency and kindness and good humor. I needed to be in the presence of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke again: Talented people sharing their gifts with us and doing their part to bring some joy to the world.
I think I’ll watch The Sound of Music on my next “Rainy Day”. 🙂