This rainy Sunday morning
“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” – Langston Hughes
“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” – Bill Watterson
Generally speaking, rain is good. Unless there’s too much of it. Unless it appears on the day scheduled for a picnic, a hike, an outdoor wedding, or perhaps a war.
None of those activities were penciled into this morning’s calendar, so I’m writing and reading (with coffee rather than tea) with the sound of its lullaby. Perhaps I’ll doze in my chair. That can happen. I probably won’t go outside and walk in it or ride a bike in it–aiming for the best puddles on the road–because I don’t do that any more, though I probably should.
As usual, the morning news is filled with discouraging words, mostly plots within plots, and–to roughly paraphase Victor Hugo–the deaf keeping the blind informed. The rain washes all of that away for a while. Perhaps I’m dozing in my chair now, dreaming about writing a post that mentions rain and the deaf leading the blind. If only.
If you’re inclined to love magic, you probably have noticed that rivers, oceans, and rain facilitate intuition, communication with Spirit, and writing letters or novels about magical moments. I write better on rainy days and Mondays than when the sun is out. On rainy days, one can dream without falling asleep, the perfect prescription for poets, novelists, mystics, and lovers.
The two horses at the farm across the road are munching grass up near the fence line. I’m tempted to walk over there and give each of them a wet apple and scratch their wet-horse-smelling heads. But my wife has saved the few remaining apples in the bowl for a pie and I really don’t want to have to explain where they went. Nonetheless, the horses are part of the rainy morning and it’s a comfort seeing them there, dreaming perhaps whatever horses dream in the medium of water.
John Updike wrote somewhere that “Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth.” Yes it is. When I was young, I collected rainwater for my aquariums, mother collected it for her gentle plants, years ago people saved it in cisterns as a defense against droughts. Conjure woman collect rainwater for spell work. Farmers and gardeners pray for it before everything they care about dries up. Rain is both a prayer and an answer to prayer. As some say, rain is good medicine.
When the worst flood in recent history hit northwestern Montana in June 1964, a Blackfeet elder was quoted as saying the deluge was too much good medicine. I was there and I remember that rain and thought of it as Mother Nature on drugs or, as one newspaper headlined, “Mother Nature Turns Outlaw.” Floods tend to give rain a bad name until the next drought. There’s no lullaby or kiss in a flood.
The creek below our house floods one of the two roads into town when there’s too much rain. I’m not sure what the cows think of that. I drive my old Buick through it because that’s an adult’s way of remembering what it was to be a kid on a bike in a rain storm. I’m no longer a fan of muddy trousers and shoes, so I tend to stay away from fields of standing water unless the cows get out and then when it comes down to it, getting wet no longer matters until we’re done chasing and herding all of the cattle back inside their fences. You haven’t lived a complete life until you’ve chased black cattle on a black rainy night. Cattle will make a fair mess of your yard if they get into it during a rain storm. I don’t see any magic in that.
But this morning, the cattle are inside the fence because the fence is relatively new and sturdy and follows the rise and fall of the land perfectly enough to cover over the places where cows shinnied under the barbed wire or jumped over it. So, this morning I’m content with my coffee and books without having to check outside ever once in a while to see how many of the cows are on the road stopping traffic.
It’s been a comfortable morning for lullabies and dreams and for dozing in a chair while pretending to read a book.