By Delbert H. Rhodes
Twice it came last night, but momentarily. From the distance, a soft roar seemed apparent; and then with each breath, the roar intensified, it magnified. My ears tingled attentively, and mimicking a Labrador pointing to the prize, they keenly focused on the incoming furor. Nervous fireflies fluttered the back of my neck. One thinks of asynchronous twinkles of light: The intermittent luminous streams serving to identify and locate the females. These encoded distinct patterns provide dedicated pathways through sheets of blackness.
At first, the source of the noise escaped me, and although it occurred for mere seconds, the seconds felt like hours. Every orifice capable of hearing, listened. The distant sound grew closer, and my thoughts fumbled for information. Then as though released into freedom for the first time, it rushed forward.
Directed by the winds, it continued in its path; first on the north wind, and then the west; next the blustery arms of a southern wind pointed the way; but when the eastern winds acted as guides, it became somewhat disoriented. Trying to find its way, it began to change directions, twisting and turning, but without a clear path in sight. Roaring louder, it continued to revolve in confusion; whirling, the winds entangled it. Now out of control, and mixing with the light, sparkles spiraled down in the darkness.
Then suddenly the northern winds scooped it up, holding fast, they set it back on course. Streaming downward, resembling moths attracted to candlelight, it secured its destination. Making its presence known, it cried out, its echoes shaping the tones of a town crier. Still I wondered what it could be.
From below, the distant sound of a waterfall ravished the night. Soon the sound was everywhere, as though the building rested within its powerful jaws. I envisioned fast-moving water, bending and twisting, splitting and flowing around rocks, then churning at the river’s edge cascading over the falls. The white foam appearing as steam: rising as the waters descend in heaving downpours of majesty and might.
Subsequent to shaking it, perhaps some Greek or Roman God opened a giant Keg. Afterwards, the Keg’s contents spewed into the earthbound air. Albeit to question the Gods was risky, one could imagine from where they acquired such bravery in battle. In my mind’s eye, a rainbow spanned the fury; stretching its leg, it lent an array of colors to the scenic splendor. Then I heard what sounded like pebbles striking the roof.
The falling rain, acting as a roaring blanket enveloped the building. The crystalline beads pummeled the roof, resounding as little tom, toms playing to tiny dancing feet. The surfaces came aglow as the watery wax glistened against the night sky. As the droplets slid away, they oozed, and trickled down the building, snaking along the windows, until reaching the ground. Once mating with Mother Earth the waters fed the hungry soil, roots, and foliage.
Preceding the rain was the night and calm. No swelling dark clouds, no threatening black sky, and no flashes of light blazing a trail in the heavens, as lightning bolts illuminated the unseen. Furthermore, absent was earth-shaking, bellowing thunder, commonplace to most storms. No, the rain came quietly: peppering the roof with tiny pebbles of liquid crystal; descending upon the world with a purpose, only it and God fully understood. Then as quickly as it arrived, the rain departed.
The building’s leaders and gutters remained idle, and quiet. Their input was unnecessary because the water was minimal. The rain fell for what seemed as a moment, a mere twinkle in time. Nevertheless, presenting enough water to skid from the slanting roofs, or drip from the overhangs, or become sluiced by the building’s cold tremble. I too was quiet and dry; for the droplets never touched me. At its leaving, sadness permeated me because I love the rain. I wanted it to return. Moreover, I wondered if it would. Anxiously: I was hopeful that it could.
A veil of darkness covered the land, but light radiated behind the dim mystery. The misty radiance emitted a silky sweet glow casting the veil in silhouette. With exception to human noise, a passing car with a screaming radio, someone calling across the parking lot to someone else, silence ruled. Human noise, unlike the soft rumble of rain, disturbs the airwaves, injures my ears, and evokes my displeasure, making me angry. Rain on the other hand, relaxes, soothes, and pleases me. The seductive substance spiritually calms me.
All my life the rain has consoled me. As a child, I was mystified, though never afraid, by the massive dark clouds, the roaring thunder, and the bright streaks of lightning living above me. The myths enthralled me, and these explained the visions I saw and the noises I heard. Now as an adult, and albeit more knowledgeable, still I am compelled by the magic. As an unseen magician waves his mystical wand before my eyes, I cannot help but wonder.
Lying in bed and listening to the radio, I prepared for rest and sleep. My thoughts rested in some unknown place with my friend the rain. Curiously, I wondered to where it had gone. Perhaps, I hoped, it would return. As the night shared its pillow with me, its dreams spoke of the Ether, and mine of water. The many lakes, rivers, and oceans of earth bound rain. Once or twice, the eyes of sleep awoke, but when the sandman returned, my dreams continued.
Sleeping, I had no way of knowing if above me, the tiny pebbles danced upon the roof. In my dreams, however, they lay before me in an expanse of great waterways. Seemingly, only God’s creatures and I appreciated the mystery of the rain. Privately, we delighted in the majesty of the rain’s crystal tears.
The voice of the morning called to me, and shook me from sleep. Close by, green eyes whispered daybreak, but still, the darkness clung to the night. The moonless sky by passed twilight, yet its smile exposed a dark throat. Glancing through my window, I observed a bleak and wet landscape. The gleaming crystal droplets covered the trees, parking lots and cars. Slowly, the light chased the darkness making the landscape more visible. Albeit the scenery appeared bleak, it was nonetheless quite beautiful. Cleansed, and peaceful. Now something unseen on the previous night came into view. At the sight of it: and as contentment tickled my heart, I smiled.
As the morning grew lighter, the gray clouds grew darker. The rain would soon be here. Unseen on the previous night, the clouds atmospherically cloaked in black. From somewhere close by, a songbird trilled to the morning. The tonal clarity caressed me, causing me to daydream. My thoughts soared to a Cornet, how, when properly intoned, the air became saturated with sweet melodies. Additionally: religious feet tiptoed to tunes of Sunday morning church chimes. Seductively: the sensations embraced the walls of beloved bell towers. Endearing echoes walked the winds welcoming all whom would come.
As such, the morning blushed to the serene and romantic song of one of God’s creatures. Before long, and nearby was heard a familiar sound. Closer it came, and as would electro-chemical thoughts embracing one’s mind, it enveloped the morning and me. Then suddenly tiny pebbles struck the roof. Again, the metal passionately cried, welcoming the rain’s return. This time it came in torrents; this time in sheets of water. The thunderous roar quieted the world around me.
A pond adjoining the property is the usual habitat of a white Loon. Now cascading droplets displaced the animal, taking residence of the pool. As the sky cried on the earth’s shoulder, crystal tears drew circles on the pond’s face. Across the parking lot, a Pine Tree spread its branches to catch the falling globules. Looming over the buildings and cars, the tree showed no signs of despair.
The tree’s left side suffered damage two years ago. Unfortunately, the weight of heavy wet snow snapped and broke away its limbs. Now the tree embraced the rain, as pelting pearls immersed it in a torrential downpour. The rain enraptured me many times as a young man. Taking long walks, or sometimes running a few miles, I bathed in God’s tears of joy. Furthermore, and in those days, sometimes the only joy I knew.
Above me, tiny pebbles danced to metallic music. Zooming by, and bursting through sheets of water, cars played dangerous games of road tag. In the parking lot, as shimmering pellets performed elaborate rain dances, crystalline freckles decorated the blacktop. The earth bound water’s pleasantry brought me peace. From somewhere close by a songbird trilled to the morning. With each intoning note, I became mindful of how small I am.
Copyright © 2002 Delbert H. Rhodes