It had been at least 42 days since it had rained. I don’t know if that was a record, because I’m kind of a take-the-weather-as-it-comes kind of girl. But I can tell you that in the past six-week draught, my yard not only yielded its green, but took on the smell of stale straw–a marked absence of sweetness and softness. And while I don’t really think much about the weather, my soul and body are another matter completely.
It had been overcast all day. Driving home, my husband complained that every place north, south, east, and west has had rain, but not us. Today would be no different, he said. His pessimism annoyed me. The clouds were soupy and nothing was casting shadows. I had only just begun to hope. I gently suggested that we should be thankful that our livlihoods are not directly dependent upon the rain.
And so, a few hours later, when I glanced out our front door to see a few spots dotting the front porch, it seemed reasonable to feel just a little bit delighted. Finally. The rain made it to us. Of course, I knew it eventually would, but the wait was long. And my body and my soul and my yard are just so thirsty. And hot. And I’ve been waiting without realizing I was waiting. And maybe, just maybe, the waiting is worse than the thirst and the heat.
There is suspended emotion for which there is a weight in my heart, but no person, place, time, or memory upon which to attach it. In the rain, that suspended emotion is no longer homeless. In the rain, the ambiguity makes sense. Everyday, we pour our lives into the universe. Our life forces evaporate into the atmosphere, but we never disappear. They collect in the streams of our lifetimes, which are but tributaries to the rivers of family histories, and eventually lead to oceans of human experience.
But sometimes we return to ourselves. Sometimes as condensation on a glass, when an old memory captures the light and changes how we see the here and now. Sometimes as a deluge, when past decisions and circumstances force us from our comfortable places. And sometimes, as rain. Rain returns to us that which is least explainable yet most fundamental in ourselves. Neither an incidental residue nor a major reckoning of the past, rain is what we give to the universe that returns and beckons us to consider what is mysterious and eternal within us. Yet so often, we try to shelter ourselves from it.
I had been waiting upon this rain without realizing how much I had been yearning for it. And so, when it arrived with its perfume and song, something in my primal soul rejoiced, and rejoices still. I stepped into it, letting it soak me utterly as my skin tingled, and my muscles relaxed, and my hair soaked, and my eyes closed, and my lungs breathed, and my heart beat, and my lips smiled. The sweetness and softness of my little world returned.
In the rain, our misty vapors rise again. Ever ambiguous. Ever etheral. Always returning. Always rejoicing.