Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Granny Has a Grumpy Day*

One winter day Granny got up in the dark. The first thing she did, because it is the first thing she always does, was think about Maya. Then she brushed her teeth and got dressed. Then Granny looked out the window. Granny was not pleased with what she saw. It was still dark out, the days were still getting shorter. And the sky was full of clouds and the rain was coming down. Rain, rain, rain. For once, Granny was good and sick of rain. "Haven't you heard," Granny said to the sky, "that there can be too much of a good thing?" Granny was disgusted. "The days are getting shorter," she said, "and the rain is still falling in torrents and I am feeling very grumpy about it. Something," said Granny, "had better change, because I am getting sick of it. Too much is too much. Even for me, and I love rainy winter days."

So Granny and Missy went down stairs to the kitchen and had breakfast. And after breakfast, Granny said good-bye to Missy, and got out her pretty turquoise umbrella and walked to work. She didn't wear her buttercup yellow rain hat and her turquoise slicker, because she wasn't taking a walk, she was just walking three blocks to the office. She grumped all the way, very discontent with the grey, cold, wet day. "I could use some blue sky," she said to the world, "I could use some sunshine. I could even use some snow or hail or a thunder storm. Dark days. Perpetual rain. Grumpy me. Something had better change," said Granny, "‘cause I'm getting tired of this."

All morning while Granny was at work, the sun stayed behind the clouds and low on the horizon, and the rain fell, and Granny felt grumpy about it. When it was time for Granny to take her walk, she felt grumpier than ever. She even thought about skipping it. Then she decided that no stupid rain was going to trap her indoors, and she put on her bright turquoise slicker, and her happy buttercup yellow rain hat, and out she went. But even though she had dressed in happy colors, she still felt grumpy. "I'm sick of the rain," she said, "and I'm tired of the days being short, and I don't like being grumpy! Something had better change. Do you hear me?" Granny said to the sky and the clouds and the hidden sun and the falling rain, "something had better change".

And Granny climbed her grumpy way up the hill, and she began to feel a little less grumpy. And she got out on Basin Road, and she was walking a little faster and lighter. And she passed a man walking his dog and she managed to say "Hi" to him and not growl, although she also did not say "beautiful day" which she always does. As Granny walked along, she saw that all of the waterfalls were flowing, and very full too. "See," said Granny in discontent, "how much rain we've had? Goodness gracious, it's been raining forever." And Granny crossed the bridge by the spillway, and the spillway was flooded with water, and Granny said "we've had enough. The days are too short and the rain won't ever stop and I am feeling grumpy. Something had better change," said Granny. "It's time for a change," she said. "I'm losing my patience." And Granny walked down the flume walk and she was mighty grumpy.

After a while Granny came to a place where the waterfall came right to the trail, and usually went under the trail. Yesterday when Granny had gone on her walk the waterfall had been a little on the trail, and Granny had splashed through it. Today, the waterfall was flowing over the trail so deeply that if Granny wanted to get to the other side she would have to get her feet wet right over the tops of her shoes. "Don't get your feet wet," said Granny to herself in a grumpy old lady voice. "I will if I want to," she answered back in a happy, delighted, little girl voice, and she splashed into the waterfall and she laughed and she splashed and her feet and socks and shoes got wet and cold and she could feel the cold, cold water rush between her toes. And she stomped around in the water, and she said "I will if I want to!" And when she came out on the other side, she was striding along like her usual self, happy and delighted with the rain and the day. "Look at the waterfalls," Granny said, "how full and beautiful they are. Listen to the thunder sound as they rush down the mountain! What a lot of rain we needed so they could be so lovely."

And the day was still dark and short, and the rain still fell in torrents, but Granny wasn't grumpy anymore. Something had changed. And Granny realized that what had needed to change all along was Granny. And when she met a lady out walking her dog, she said "Beautiful day."

* Here is a story I wrote for Maya one winter day in 1999. I remember the day perfectly -- particularly, how wonderful the cold, cold water felt on my toes and how great it felt to do what I wanted to do instead of what I should have done.


Kay Dennison said...

I love this story and I love your happy yellow rain hat. I have a happy red one!

Joy Des Jardins said...

I love this story J....love it. And...the beautiful message behind it too.