I've Seen Fire, But I've Felt Rain
I awoke in liminal listening may times last night to the soft percussion of cool water drumming every surface large and minuscule on its downward mission to permeate and moisten the earth. It's a stark contrast to just a few weeks ago when hot flames were frenetically searching, scorching and withering those same surfaces as they reached up from the earth towards the sky. This planet and her many faces is tremendous. I am struck with how the trance and spectacle of a landscape burning drew people out into nature and provisional vistas to take it the surreality and allow themselves to become awestruck. Neighbors and local people meeting for the first time on ridges speaking to each other, connecting with somber enthusiasm while witnessing the flames parching the life from everything it touches. Conversely, the rain sends us scuttling inside, with our family, maybe a close friend or two, and often alone in solitude within the confines of a small space as this awesome occurrence blesses everything it touches with life.
Rain Dancing Me
I have spoke to many folks who were affected by the fire to greater or lesser degrees. I know I am not alone to in wishing and praying for people's lives and rhythms to be restored. I continue to have moments of acknowledging both the power and awe of the fires as well as the grace, tenacity, generosity and courage of everyone who has been involved in this event either by happenstance or choice.
And while the rains bring concerns with mudslides, it is also something we have all been anticipating deeply. I know I have. I grew up in the midwest where it rained often through summers followed by snow and the weeks and weeks of slush as spring approached. Southern California has conditioned me. I am struck by how often I find myself longing for rain to the point of it affecting my emotional well-being. Almost an ache sometimes that I can feel in my body. It's a faint, elusive feeling to locate or identify and I can't say I like the feeling, but it is profound to see how deeply connected I have become in anticipating the seeming average event of rain that has been happening on a global scale for millions and millions of years. The sheer repetition of this can make it seem ordinary and uneventful. But on the other hand. Rain is and continues to be an extraordinary happening to me! Fresh water falling from the sky. billions of tons of water easily moved tens of thousands of feet into the atmosphere and transported for hundreds of miles and then released gently, sometimes ferociously back down to the earth to nourish all living systems across the entirety of the planet.
"“The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling." - Lucretius
Extraordinary. As far as we know earth is still the only planet that has designed itself to do this. If there was another intelligent life presence out there with the technology to observe our planet, the way we are now discovering other planets and systems (of which we have literally observed hundreds of now), I can only imagine how stunningly magical our planet must look like to them; assuming they are on one of the hundreds or thousands of planets that have no weather system to speak of. Imagine if we did find a planet far, far off where it was...raining. That we could peer through the interstellar space and watch water moving up from the surface of a planet and back down again to its surface; a cosmic, watery breathing out there in the distant reaches of the universe. I'd like to think that would give all of humanity a mirroring that would transform our own understanding of who we are as a species at home on, and in relationship with Earth in a time where we desperately it. Until that day though, perhaps you can discover that transformative aspect for yourself by simply stepping out in the rain. Go for a walk in the rain. Take your family. Invite your neighbors. Rediscover the miracle of water falling from the sky and the inherent rise of gratitude that will follow for incomprehensible mystery of planet Earth.