Front Range

Rain Delay

Colorado’s relentless sun can give me the blues.

August 2012

On a recent saturday morning, I woke to the sun streaming through the skylights of my Wash Park home. From my bed, I could see a breeze playing among the cottonwoods in my backyard and not a single cloud in the cobalt-blue sky. Another gorgeous day in Colorado. I groaned, covered my head with a pillow, and rolled over.

I usually worship the sun. Growing up outside of Atlanta—a place so humid that rain seems to fall more often than not—I couldn’t wait for the sun to peek out from behind the all-too-frequent layer of gray. When golden rays did break through, I relished the chance to play tennis, shoot hoops, go to the pool, take a walk, or ride a bike around the neighborhood with a friend. You just didn’t waste a beautiful day in Georgia.

Today, I yearn to wake to the pitter-patter of raindrops on my roof. I miss that freshly cleansed smell after a good soaker. I long for the coziness the rain somehow imparts. As a kid in Georgia, I never recognized drizzly mornings and dreary afternoons as built-in breaks, times that forced me to sit inside and take both a mental and physical hiatus. They were like a signal from Mother Nature that I could have a free pass to sit on the couch, read a book, take a nap, watch a Law & Order marathon, or simply stare at the ceiling. In other words, rainy days provide much-needed mindless downtime when my brain can purge, idle, and reset. A good frog-strangler, as they say in the South, is good for the mind, body, and soul.

I’ve now lived in Denver for 11 years, and I have tried, every so often, to mimic my rainy-day routine. Although the sun is shining, my neighbor is throwing a kayak on her SUV, and droves of cyclists are pedaling past my house, I leave on my plaid pajama pants and ratty T-shirt and draw the blinds tight. I snuggle up on the couch with a book, the remote, and a cup of tea, and settle in for a day of blessed nothingness. 

Then the guilt hits. I somehow feel that by continuing to wear my PJs instead of some uniform that includes Lycra or Gore-Tex, I am being wholly ungrateful. I am, after all, lucky enough to live in Colorado, yet here I am frittering away one of its most precious gifts: the opportunity to recreate outside almost every day of the year. There are people who are stuck inside in Georgia right now! I chide myself.

Sometimes I give in and do some work in the garden, or reluctantly lace up my Merrells to take the dog for a jog. Sometimes I fight the self-reproaching voice in my head and shimmy farther into the couch pillows—but it’s not the same carefree, mind-purifying experience I crave.

And so, although it feels blasphemous, I wonder: Is it possible this much sunshine falls into the too-much-of-a-good-thing category? Are Coloradans missing out on the merits of a soggy day—and all it entails—here and there? I know people say their outdoor pursuits—the running and biking and hiking that happen on sunny days—help them relax and clear their minds. I’m sure that’s true for them. But maybe Coloradans would be even more laid-back if, a bit more often, they experienced a rain-induced opportunity to stare at the ceiling. I, for one, hope the skies open up soon.