voices in the rain

The first half of June has been a steady progression of rainstorms lumbering up through the valley like a herd of traveling pachyderms. Day by day, nearly hour by hour, thunder’s heavy footfall rattles the windows to signal the approach of a new storm. Black clouds blot the horizon, dwarfing farm and city alike. Daylight is lost as the stampede passes overhead, trampling sky, shaking earth, pounding rooftops, flooding streets with great spouts of torrential rain, jolting sleepy creeks and rivers straight out of their beds.

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Today, rain falls with such furiousness, I can’t see across the woods. Beyond rain-pebbled glass, an English sparrow waits out the worst, while a pair of nuthatches huddle, beaks downward, on a sliver of dry bark beneath an arching canopy of rain-glossed oak leaves.

“Seven inches of rain in six days,” mutters our drenched postal carrier as he delivers the day’s dripping mail. “I could grow rice in my back yard.”

Returning to my reading chair, I’m snug and dry in a circle of yellow lamplight. I lose myself in my book of poetry, let the storm pass.

After a while, the staccato drumbeat of raindrops decreases, the sky’s low ceiling lifts, a robin begins to chirrup.

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I lay aside my book and slip out on the front porch to watch swift-passing clouds. Our Japanese maple’s slender wrists wear delicate bracelets of shimmering droplets that wink in the light of an emerging sun.

Rainwater gushes down the sloping curve of our court, racing toward the heavy iron gutter in the turnaround. In bare feet, I pick my way across spongy, saturated grass, step off the curb and into rushing water. How glorious it feels…

Time’s forward march slows just enough to let peals of childish laughter echo back to me from rainy days gone by. I see them in mind’s eye now, our darling children: big sister, little brother, littlest sister twirl bright umbrellas, hold hands, leap into puddles, splash with joyous abandon in a steady downpour, call out to one another, to me…

Treasured memories, these voices in the rain.

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Sunbeams peep through overhead boughs as parting drops splash and spread ripples across puddled water.

My neighbor, a youthful woman in her seventies, spies me from her kitchen window and comes out in bare feet to say hello.

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Following my lead, she eases her feet into the waning curbside flow. We stand together and swap stories of our latest successes and failures in the garden, talk about what’s new with our children, speculate as to when or whether the next storm will strike.

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After a while, we part ways, she to her sewing, and I to my flowerbeds. Before I return to the house and the poems that await, I lean close to revel in a few more moments of rain-rinsed loveliness. Everywhere, blossoms and leaves glisten in the light.

I breathe a sigh, close my eyes, lift the petals of my heart in gratitude for nature’s gifts, for earth and sky, for sunlight and showers, for springtime blossoms and summer’s plenitude, for the seasons of my life, for sweet, remembered voices in the rain.

10 thoughts on “voices in the rain

  1. My heart is full to the brim. Here in my new home in the UK, I miss those midwestern thunderstorms (although I recognize that enough is enough after a while!). And I miss those sweet spontaneous moments with a dear neighbor-friend; for me, it was the dear lady who hollered from her porch to mine, or plunked a rumpled sack of still-warm tomatoes into my hands, or waved as she took her basset hound for a walk, trailing cats. Thank you, thank you for this, Amy. Makes me homesick yet strangely satisfied!

    • I love knowing my small offering brought a bit of the midwest to you, Lynn, and that it revived memories of your delightful former neighbor, who sounds positively iconic! In a few brief phrases, you’ve created a living, breathing likeness of her… What a wonderful writer you are!

      I can well relate to your sense of homesickness. I was a student teacher in Ayr, Scotland in the early 1980’s. During the three months I lived there, I fell head-over-heels in love with the Scottish people, with their culture and history, with the breathtaking beauty of their homeland. I grew to feel very much at home in Scotland, and part of my heart remains there. Still, toward the close of my three-month stay, I grew homesick for my own beloved midwest. I missed so many little things of home, but more than anything, I missed my dear family and my sweetheart (we married after my return). I realize that so much of what we treasure about a place we’ve lived springs from the friendships and loving connections we’ve forged with others… I hope, and feel quite certain, you’ve made many fine friendships in the UK already. Thank you for sharing the exceptional beauty of your new home at Beauty Where We Are. I love, love, love your blog!

      I’m delighted that we have discovered one another here in the ether, Lynn, and I look forward to connecting with you again. Much love and many blessings to you in the beautiful UK! xoxo

      • Forgive me for cluttering your comment box, Amy, but I wanted to let you know that when your reply landed in my inbox, it absoposilutely made my day. I love having a Scotland connection with you, and I’m honored that you visited my blog. I’ve even blubberingly read your note to my teenaged son – ha! Thank you for the gift of your kindness, on top of the already considerable gift of your blog. xoxo

      • You aren’t cluttering my comment box, Lynn! Quite the opposite: you’re decorating it! It’s a joy to hear from you. And I’m not a mere visitor to your blog, I happen to be one of your devoted followers!

        May your days be filled with beauty and delight, my friend. All the best to you~ xoxo

  2. Oh, how I love the feet pic! Frame that one and give to her:). I had a new tree planted, a small one, a couple of weeks ago. You can blame me for the rain. I told God I didn’t want to kill it by not watering enough. He helped out:).

    • So it’s you, it is, who has sent all this lovely rain? I happen to adore rain, so thank you, my dear! Glad your new tree is being well-watered! And you’re right, I should give a copy of the feet photo to my neighbor! xoxo

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