It was the worst of times.
While I was at Colonial Williamsburg in July, there were two storms that passed through. Neither was severe. In fact, during the first one, I was walking along Duke of Gloucester Street with an umbrella. There was a small tour group at one corner at the end of the street, but other than that, I was the only person in sight.
The gentle rain patted on my umbrella as I strolled the cobblestone and shell-graveled sidewalks. Bubbles of water clung to the windows of the nearby milliner store and apothecary, leaving brief rivulets behind them as gravity pulled them down in crooked paths. Puddles rested on barrel tops, splashing with rings of tiny waves as if fairies dipped down to play in the pool. In the distance, beyond the architecture of the village, silent lightning occasionally lit the horizon.
"I am the Lord."
God is timeless. He has no beginning or end. When He says, I am anything, I know that He appreciates the present moment. Why? Because every moment must be present for Him. Can I also live in the moment and appreciate my surroundings without despising the past, regretting mistakes, and immensely worrying about the future, near and far?
When you cannot be still, it may be because you have too many things on your mind. A walk in the rain can teach you that.
At the same time, there was a second storm. It occurred on Friday, and it had every potential to be just as enjoyable for me, though the entire group of CWTI teachers was with me. We rode a chartered bus to nearby Yorktown, where I had every intention of walking the battlefield, gazing upon the redoubts taken by Lafayette and Hamilton, and seeing the location of General Washington's first cannon fire upon the British. I wanted to see the surrender field and walk the line that the Redcoats walked to drop their weapons into a pile.
I suppose it was not to be. A storm was close enough to our location that we were not allowed to debus. We sat in our seats, watching the sprinkling raindrops on the windshield, and noticing little kids climbing all over the redoubt walls, but we weren't allowed to play. Relegated to seeing history through soggy bus windows, I couldn't help but show my disappointment. I had waited three years to stand in those footprints, and instead I had to squint through glass.
It really wasn't a storm, and neither was the first one I described above. In fact, with both, we would have normally been satisfied to sit by a window sipping cocoa and enjoying a good book, but this place was different, and I itched to lunge past our keeper and plunge into the battlefield grass. Men gave their lives in this uncomfortable place, so how dare we dishonor them by remaining on a comfortable bus!
And really, doesn't the gloomy weather play right into the somber ambience of Yorktown? It helped me realize that the raging battle, with all of its explosions big and small, is only a portion of the story of that moment when the world turned upside down for British General Cornwallis and his army. They didn't feel all that great about being in that spot; they, too, wished to lunge and plunge. So, I guess the rain in this instance sort of added to the experience instead of removing it. I am so thankful for my CWTI experiences and the great, unintended lessons they taught me that were off the books.