Many people seem ready for school to start. I’m not ready for summer to end. In the spirit of embracing summer and not letting go, I took the kids to a public beach on Green Lake. We ate our picnic, played on the seesaw, and enjoyed half an hour of swimming and sand-play before dark clouds rolled closer and thunder sounded its ominous warning. That was our cue to get out. Now I had to make a decision: should we go home or wait out the storm? I didn’t really want our beach day to end so soon. So we stayed in the shelter, watching the small storm come closer, amusing ourselves with the dramatics of a pontoon boat that wouldn’t stay anchored, and the group of children in our shelter who were cold and sometimes frantic. The wind picked up, the rain came down, the thunder sounded right above us. The sea gulls clustered at the edge of the beach, all facing into the wind. They, too, were waiting out the storm. I pointed this out to my children, and one of them asked me what “waiting out” meant. “Waiting until it’s over,” I explained. But really, we weren’t just waiting. We were experiencing a storm (thankfully, a small one) by the beach of a lake. Way, way better than watching TV. Even better than reading a book. A million times better than playing Solitaire on the computer. We felt the temperature-drop, we heard the wind, saw the choppiness of the water, noticed the birds’ behavior, learned about electricity and water, heard thunder up-close and outdoors, smelled the strong lake scent after the storm had passed.
We did go back in the water afterward, but the sun wasn’t shining full-force anymore, and neither was our energy. So we ended up leaving after all. Was it worth waiting out the storm? Definitely. At home we would have stayed indoors. And if I had left early, I would have wondered if I had missed out on a great beach day.