“It’s not that we have to quit this life one day, but it’s how many things we have to quit all at once: music, laughter, the physics of falling leaves, automobiles, holding hands,the scent of rain, the concept of subway trains… if only one could leave this life slowly!” ― Roman Payne
“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” ― Roger Miller
The rain, the rain, oh how I love the rain. I overslept this morning, haven’t done that in a while. As I made my way down the hall to let “Pookie,” my 3 year old Jack Russel out, I was greeted as I am every morning by “Meowzer” one of the three Zen masters I live with. He runs to me every morning and says, “Pay attention.” And I do, I pet him first, “Good morning Meowzer.” As I enter the parlor I am greeted by Pookie, “Good morning Pookie.” I open the sliding door to the rear yard and am greeted by the aroma first, “Ahh it rained.” And I see that all familiar coating on the grasses and pine trees and flowers. My heart fills with anticipation and I proceed to open all the windows. “Come in.” “Come in.” Oh how I love the rain! My mind suddenly returns to a day we had “Sesshin” (extended intensive meditation training) years ago. It was all day so “work practice” was in order. The rain was falling and one of the monks asked, “Should we just focus on inside.” “Oh no” I replied, “Let’s get wet.” That afternoon we worked outside in the falling rain. I fell in love again that day with, “music, laughter, silence, presence, the physics of falling leaves, the sound of the automobiles making their way north and south on 206, the fellowship of monks and friends, prayer hands, the scent of rain.”
“Some people walk in the rain, others get wet.” Some people just go through life while others take the time to smell its aroma, and get wet by its offerings, the immeasurable experiences of “being alive”. As children we loved the rain and the snow and sunny days. We would run out of my Mother’s house while she cried, “Walk, before you fall.” We never listened, even “falling” had something to offer us. We would start early morning and go all day, I don’t believe our feet ever touched the ground except when we missed it touching us. We ran, we climbed, we imagined, we ate life like my memory of eating my very first cheesesteak from Pat’s on Passyunk Avenue. Somehow we sensed, though we never spoke about it, we didn’t have time to talk about any of it. Little did I know then, what I would come to know for sure, so much later in my life, “We were right, we didn’t have time to waste, not a moment to squander.”
When it rains here at Pine Wind it feels like a cleansing, a kind of baptismal. In Jizo-an it can be mesmerizing. The sound of the rain falling upon the metal roof. “No time to think about anything.” “You just want to listen, listen to the falling rain.” After the rainfall, that familiar glaze like coating on everything. Crisp, clear, alive. But you will miss it all if, “You just walk through the rain, if you just walk through life.”
We Need Rain
We need rain to awaken the earth.
We need rain to flow through every plant’s veins;
We need rain to make muddy stains.
We need rain to keep our farmers praying.
Lord? Please answer our prayers with water.
Lord? Please bless nature with clear blue seas.
Plants are dying, animals are not surviving;
People are starving, nature is not responding.
We need rain for all ends to meet.
We need rain to quench the thirst of the poor.
Quench the thirst of each animal in each herd.
We pray for grey skies and waterfalls;
We pray for green grass to grow as high as walls.
We need water to wash our bodies;
We need rain to rehydrate our doggies.
Lord? Please send rain to help fruit grow;
Lord? Please send rain to help all rivers flow.
Our farmers are losing hope;
It’s getting harder for them to cope.
Let the rain you send kiss our skin;
Let each flower glow within.
Lord? Quench our sun-baked souls;
Wash away all of our troubles.
Let it rain for days.
Let it fall on field and tree;
Let it guide our ships at sea.
We are awaiting water puddles;
Watching clouds and rain cuddle.
We need settling of dust and heat;
We need clean faces roaming the streets.
Lord? Please send us rain.
We welcome it with open hands.
— Bronwyn Van Der Walt
I Love you,