I am grateful for umbrellas. I love an umbrella and not for the obvious reason of keeping dry in a downpour, though I suppose that reason may play a part. It can’t be any umbrella; it must be an umbrella that looks as though it has a story to tell, a secret perhaps and it’s best if the umbrella is yellow.
An umbrella creates its own world and if you tuck under it, you become part of the secret world, too. Others may be able to see in, just a little, but they can’t get in, not really. I’ve seen two walking under an umbrella and it never works; someone is always getting wet and besides, having someone else under your umbrella breaks the spell. An umbrella is meant for a solitary stroll in the rain.
Holding an umbrella in my hand and hoisted over my head provides the opportunity for contemplative thought while enjoying the rain, the rhythm of the rain immediately overhead. Where running in the rain is invigorating, creates the mood of bravery and daring, of fun and frolic, an umbrella provides peace, is meditative almost, unless of course a wind is involved and then it’s just best to be indoors. I do not like wind, not aggressive angry wind. I like a bit of wind that lifts a kite aloft, but wind is temperamental and before you know it is flinging stuff at you and tearing at your hair and stealing your hat. Not even an umbrella can cheer me when it is windy.
Umbrellas have been around for more than four thousand years and I wince to state their original use was for shade from the sun. I think a large palm leaf was probably the first umbrella before someone thought they might perfect the design. Now there are automatic umbrellas and compact pocket umbrellas and bubble umbrellas that create a clear dome under which to stand and umbrellas that can bear the force of a seventy mile an hour wind. Google tells me that in the United States thirty million umbrellas are purchased annually. I find that hard to imagine; that’s a lot of umbrellas.
I have a large umbrella that I use to walk Gracie when the weather is wet. I have a small umbrella in my car for emergencies, but I don’t actually own an umbrella with charm and character. I’m not sure why, I just don’t. I may have to remedy that.
I remember my grandmother telling me it was bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. When I asked her why, she didn’t have an answer; in fact she stared at me for a moment and then confessed she had no idea of why, upon which I opened her umbrella and she shrieked.
There was a time, I must confess, when I thought umbrellas were silly and for those too delicate to brave the rain. I don’t remember when my opinion of umbrellas changed. Maturity must have had something to do with it. I didn’t use to like Brussels sprouts or spinach either. I do now, though not as much as I love an umbrella.