Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sacred Rain

I grabbed my cup of coffee and my bag with paperwork, a book, and my laptop. I left my apartment only to find it raining hard outside. I didn't have far to walk, just to my car. It wasn't the thought of getting cold and wet that made me pause. I can't exactly say what made me hesitate leaving. I am tempted to say it was the beauty of the moment or the joy that surprised me in a way only C. S. Lewis can describe--both instances of the Spirit, very apropos as we approach Pentecost. Truth is, I don't know what caught me up in that moment, but I know I found a change of plans when I saw the rain, and it was welcome.

I sat my coffee cup down on the cement porch and leaned my bag against the wooden rocking chair as I pulled it closer to the building and further from the awning's edge. I sat in the chair and was only splattered with cold rain water every now and then.

I pulled out my cell phone and sent a text message to one of my staff members. My ears filled with a glorious harmony as the sound of my text messaging countered the melodious pattering of the rain in the trees, the metal awning, the sidewalk, and puddles. Every now and then cars driving by would provide harmony as they splashed water from one place on the road to another. It was a wonderful blend of human and nonhuman noises.

I looked up from my phone and my eyes were caught by light dancing on a pool of water across the street, jiggling with the falling of more rain drops. By now the rain had eased some. When I first saw it, it fell with force, as if for a purpose. Now it had changed to the sort of rain that feels nice on your face--small drops falling so lightly. The two different experiences of rain were so different I wonder if is even right to call them both rain.

My eyes turned to the trees once frosted in blooms of pink and white. Today they are fully clothed in a green that hides the bare brownness of their branches and the barren black of the power lines that invade their space. Or is it the trees that invade the power lines' space? The trees are young, perhaps the power lines were there before the landscaper planted the dogwoods.

Was I invading the trees' space? I sat across the street from them, gazing at their maturing beauty--sat on the porch of Royster Hall, once Royster Memorial Hospital. I wonder what was there before? Sisters of the trees across the street, perhaps? Were they gazing back at me in bitter remembrance of the day their sisters fell, the day humans came and changed the natural look of nature?

And what exactly is nature or natural? Beavers build dams, birds build nests, mice dig holes. If all these are natural, why do we so often consider streets, buildings, power lines, cities, cell phones, and computers--technology in general--as unnatural? Nonhuman nature certainly has a beauty that human-influenced nature does not have. And vice versa.

Yet, I still lamented some of the more human parts of nature while I sat, rocking, enjoying the rain and the shelter from the rain. I lamented my desire to describe what I was experiencing. I didn't want to search for words to fit the moment, I wanted to soak in the moment. And even if I found the words, where would I write them? I couldn't possibly remember them long enough to write them all down. I couldn't get out my computer, because the battery was dead. I could have gone inside to plug in the computer, but I decided it was worth losing the expression of the moment in order to spend more time in it--more time to lose, since that one event, I assumed, would eventually seep out of my memory, would no longer be special, would cease to exist.

The moment entered me and welled inside. I was so taken by it that my eyes almost joined the skies.

Eventually I could stand it no longer. I pulled out my pen and a paper to take notes, notes that eventually prompted this piece.

No comments:

Post a Comment