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Earth and rain

One autumn we had days and days of drenching rain. I avoided going out at first, but the dog became mournful at being merely pushed into the garden and we both felt restricted. I unearthed some waterproof trousers, encased myself in a long plastic mackintosh and wellingtons, seized a large black umbrella and the dog and strode off. I felt defiant at first, but this soon changed. We had the fields to ourselves and as we sloshed through the soaking grass it was amazing to discover that, despite the deluge, life continued normally. When you shut yourself up inside even for a few days you quickly lose touch with the pulse and rhythm of the soil. The encounter with very wet earth, grass, trees, has a great impact of movement, a deep vitality. You can feel the seeping surging essence of the countryside. You can sense more vividly the growth and swell of all plant life. Birds and small secret animal, hidden insects and a happy dog, move through and across this land of grace with lively ease while the solitary rain-drenched walker finds a kind of humility and is glad to be there with them.

Through the soft gray of rain, edges and lines blur away. There is a merging and mingling as the sky reaches down to touch the earth with this gift of refreshment that has a tenderness about it. There is a hint of something beyond the ordinary, something beneath the appearance. I walked across the Green the other day through a light rain that gethered up all the qualities of early spring and spread them ecstatically before me. Watery uncertain sky, glints of sun, golden daffodils, celandine and forsythia, the glowing new green of grass, trees just beginning to hint at something besides stark twigs and branches -- all wet and shining. I could hear the rain scuttering against my hood so softly , so persuasively, it was impossible not to feel delight, and something else: a kind of inner energy and awareness drawn from the clarity rain brings.

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When rain and earth meet, a potential is released that impels response -- from the celebrating land and the preoccupied creatures to that perplexed person , wondering how to convey in any known language the deep-down complexity of feeling that is nourished by the touch, sound and smell of rain.

Long ago, at the very beginning of our awareness, we are told a small rain fell on a tender herb and something began to shine. The rain continues, on and off, going deeper and deeper until the immense quiet vision of Moses and David touches all that is arid and brittle so it softens and starts to grow. Is this the promise rain and earth are indicating, patiently asking that we notice and accept? Are we, season after season, walking amid a lively parable beckoning for attention? It may be worth slowing down awhile for a good look around.

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