The skies turn dark, more grey than black.
The air becomes perfectly still.
And then comes the rain, in sheets and showers.
Pouring down on dry grass, garden beds…
… and our verandah roof.
The water streams down in front of and beside the verandah.
I sit on a chair, enjoying this moment from a safe perch of my own.
“I should grab my camera”, I tell myself. But I sit still, unwilling to interrupt the moment.
Overhead, small branches of pale-green maple leaves sway in the air.
Red weigela flowers move amid green leaves, showered by water, ruffled by wind.
Below them both, large hosta leaves are weighed down with raindrops.
Dip, dip. Fall back.
Unless you’re laden with red currants… in which case: Dip, dip. Fall forward.
The tall blue spruce tree stands majestic, appearing unmoved by the wind and showers.
But there’s light movement in its outermost branches. The tree has taken on a soft look, its face gentled by the rain.
All birds have taken cover, tucking themselves into dry spaces between thick branches.
One small bird sees opportunity. It darts into the rain, tail feathers wet and glistening, and aims straight for its target. It stays there, pecking, content to be alone with what it usually has to compete for: a space at the feeder.
From the verandah’s eaves trough, powerful streams torrent into the garden bed below. The Annabelle hydrangea is taking a beating, it seems. Branches, gracefully upright a few minutes ago, part with the wisdom of growing things faced with the unstoppable power of water.
It’s merely minutes later now.
The water from the eaves trough narrows. Long thin streams of vertical water form a transparent drape in the space between verandah posts.
Five streams falling steadily on the earth. Then four. Then, three. Then two, then one.
A trickle, now.
Then a quiet drip.
The rush of water, the soft thud of raindrops, the splash on leaves and flowers — all come to a stop. As if a mighty switch was turned on, then off, the rain has come and gone.
Birds chirp and fly towards a single spot: the feeder.
And I think, as I watch them:
How smart that first bird was.
The one that went before, wet tail-feathers and all.
And how remarkable water is.
Liquid, fluid, transparent. Forceful and life giving.
And as I sit on my verandah, giving thanks for it all – the rain, the trees and shrubs and flowers, and the birds and a place in which to sit, protected — the sun comes out.
As quickly as the rain began, except there was no warning this time. Almost no space between.
Rain and Sun. Doing their part to keep us alive.
We depend on them so much, that ironically we take them for granted.
We give them names that begin with lower case letters.
But Rain and Sun are Capital Gifts. Sacred Gifts.