Several times over the last month, the dry conditions here have made me think about the most refreshing rain that I have ever experienced. Sometime in the mid-1980's I worked at the Fresh Air Fund camps in Fishkill, NY. I can't remember the exact summer when this happened, as I worked there for several years. I was in a leadership position, because my task for the day during orientation was training all the new counselors how to make a craft with their campers.
The heat of the summer was incredible. Different than what we're experiencing now, as I'd qualify this summer in Indiana as a "dry heat". The Hudson River Valley was more like the normal Indiana hot, humid summer, with the air so thick that you never actually feel dry. My day of orientation consisted of teaching 6 groups of counselors how to make candles, followed by an overnight camp out to teach them what to do when they are sleeping out.
Candle making is a hot mess. You have to keep a fire going during the whole time to melt your wax. I am a good fire builder and that is probably why I got that job for the day. Standing in front of a roaring fire all day in 90 degree heat can dry you out. Maybe that was my first experience with dehydration.
After the full day in front of the fire, everyone packed up to go on our overnight camp out, which included cooking our dinner outside. Since this was a "teaching" camp out, I was assigned to teach everyone how to build a fire to cook their dinner. So, the next couple of hours were spent right by the fire again. At this point, I was dirty and sweaty, and definitely had that camp fire smell.
While the sun was still up, but after we had eaten our dinner, we were surprised to hear thunder. Quickly everyone packed up and headed back to camp. I stayed for a little while to make sure the fire was out then headed back myself. Just as I got to the meadow, the rain poured down. It was a hard soaking rain that seemed like it was coming down in buckets. But it felt so good. I just let it soak into my skin. The camp van drove by and offered me a ride, but I said no. The rain felt too good. And when I got back to my cabin, I just sat outside letting it soak in some more. I didn't think I'd ever get enough.
I will always remember that rain and how it made me feel that day.