(I wrote this column in June of 2008 when it was very dry and we needed rain. Those were the days)
My dad and I were milking cows one evening about twenty four years ago. It had been so dry that year and suddenly that evening, it finally rained. I thought we should perhaps go dance in this million-dollar rain like the pioneers did in old black and white movies but my dad simply said, “now if it will just stop.” I never understood what he meant until I started farming a little for myself. This week’s weather has really made me consider what rain means in my daily life.
What is rain? Is it just a return of what evaporated last week two thousand miles away, a boost for newly-planted grass and mosquitoes or it a metaphor of life? Maybe it’s the rain of daily struggle and problems that everyone suffers or maybe it is just plain water. If it weren’t for rain, we’d be missing a lot of songs on the radio as it would leave us only love and mama upon which to create lyrics. I always liked Neil Sedaka’s song “I Hear Laughter in the Rain” but also enjoyed “Rainy Days and Mondays” by the Carpenters as well. I’ve happily watched hours of rain water my new alfalfa while a few tenths viewed from the same window have brought anxiety and a sort of depression when I needed to bale the same field. I guess rain can mean much to even one person.
So here’s the thing; as rain eventually creates an environment that splits light into rainbows, this same environment divides and arranges emotions into something more easily understood. It refracts what shines from each person in such a way that they can tell how they’re doing inside. If rain gives you joy, then figure out what is making you happy and do more of it. If rain reveals sadness, then figure out what makes you sad and eliminate it. If rain makes you lonely, then find out what’s missing in your life and go get it.
It takes rain for a plant to grow but rain can also help people grow. If ever there is a time for self-reflection, it’s during a good thunderstorm. Rain provide the essential ingredient for looking at one’s own soul-time. There’s not much else you can do, or wish to do, during a storm. It provides the perfect reason to just sit and question whether you’re living your life as you should. If a gentle soaker lacks the impetus for some soul-searching then Nature has seen fit to provide an intensity continuum as rain graduates to hail or even a tornado; one of which is sure to get you attention.
Rain provides growth in character as sure as it provides the same for your flower bed. Rain may sharpen your focus on an internal problem or give you the time for a much-needed nap. Perhaps it can even make a lazy columnist get to work; I have to mow lawn today-and it looks like rain.