All the elements came together at just the right time today.
The newsletter that’s due Friday is far enough along that I could set it aside for the day. The rhubarb cake for tonight’s St. Ann’s meeting is in the oven. George is at rehearsal, so I have the house to myself. And the rain came.
We’ve had gloriously sunny days for weeks, it seems. Too much sun, maybe, for the things that are trying to grow. But now, in typical northern fashion, we have rain on the agenda for many days ahead. And it began half an hour ago.
I wished out loud when George and I were walking our dog after lunch.
“I’m looking forward to a rainy day when I have nothing to do,” I said.
I was visualizing that close darkness that presses against the windows when storm clouds roll overhead, the plinking sounds of rain on our metal roof, a comfy chair and a good book.
I didn’t get the whole day with nothing to do, but I’ll a take couple good hours over nothing at all. It started when the wind picked up, just before George left.
“The rain is coming,” I said, not trying to sound prophetic, just recognizing the portents of restless trees, moving like spooked horses against their tethers.
I saved and closed the newsletter, quickly assembled the cake ingredients and slid it in the oven, then grabbed my camera and headed outside. Gray clouds hovered overhead, darker ones were moving in from the west. I had just enough time, maybe the last time, to snap a few tulip photos.
I’ve been taking as many as I can, trying to capture and preserve their stained-glass brilliance in my garden. But their season is ending, their colors are fading, petals are twisted and drooped, some stems already stand naked. The wind and the rain, I figured, would finish the disrobing.
I got back in the house just in time. Rain’s forward scouts left crosshatching on the windows, and I settled in to enjoy, putting “all sensors on maximum,” as they say in the sci-fi movies. Now, it wasn’t just lilacs scents wafting through the open windows, it was that incomparable smell of rain, of wet earth and wet dust. The ping of rain on roof and skylights replaced birdsong. The atmosphere invited prayer.
“You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land.” (Psalm 68:9)
“He gives rain on the earth And sends water on the fields.” (Job 5:10)
“The heavens dropped rain at the presence of God.” (Psalm 68:8)
“He covers the heavens with clouds, He provides rain for the earth, He makes grass to grow on the mountains (and on the crops in Door County).” (Psalm 147:8)
Peace, contentment, soft satisfaction and even the presence of God appear on no sensor sweep. But, after all, they do have the sound, and the smell, and the feel of a gentle spring rain.