There is an underlying assumption that you will have good weather whenever you plan a trip. The good weather assumption is right up there with other ridiculous underlying assumptions, like nobody will get sick, you won’t have car trouble and the kids will get along beautifully.
We planned a weekend trip with 12 family members to enjoy the loveliness of fall at a rented lake house based on the aforementioned assumptions with good weather chief among them.
A month out, the long-range forecast said 65 for the high and 52 for the low. Perfect sweater weather.
Three weeks out, the temperature forecast began warming to the mid-70s. Ditch the sweaters.
Fifteen days out, the forecast on my weather app replaced all the sun icons with clouds and raindrops. Find the rain parkas.
Two days out and there was a 90 percent chance of rain. Seven small children in a house in the woods with nothing but rain. Whose idea was this, anyway?
I ripped open my suitcase, began pulling out clothes and throwing in construction paper, scissors, pipe cleaners, glue sticks and washable markers.
The day before we took off, the forecast changed from a 90 percent chance of rain.
To 100 percent.
I ripped open my suitcase again. If the hair dryer and cosmetics went, I could wedge in a hot glue gun, ball of twine, wood slabs and a wood burner. We were going to have fun even if Grandma’s hair looked scary and she didn’t smell so great.
We arrived at our destination with threatening clouds but no rain.
“To the beach! Run, kids, run!” someone yelled.
Everyone sprinted. Kids jumped in small waves, threw sticks and rocks and got their shoes and pants soaking wet.
Then the rain came. “To the house! Run!” someone yelled.
So it went. “To the beach!” “To the house!” “To the beach!”
During the Saturday afternoon lull in the rain, we sprinted to the beach, lit a fire, roasted marshmallows, squished them between graham crackers with squares of chocolates and gulped down s’mores as the sky turned a threatening steel blue. The wind kicked up, the rain commenced and it was back to the house.
The storm raged, bending trees and whipping branches. The lights in the house began to flicker, the wind lashed and the waves from the lake roared. We all pasted our noses to the windows and agreed it was way better than watching the Weather Channel. We would have stayed with our noses to the windows, but it is hard to eat lasagna standing up.
We played board games, tinkered on musical instruments, sang off-key and slept that night to the sound of rain pelting the house and waves roaring along the shore.
Morning came softly with the moon high in the sky and a swatch of pink low on the horizon. Day broke and, as if on cue, two bald eagles soared overhead. We loaded the cars and pulled away leaving blue skies without a cloud in sight behind.
We don’t always get what we want, but sometimes that is entirely enjoyable, too.