THROUGH THE WOODS: Rain

TODAY THE DAWN BROUGHT a gray sky with clouds scudding across the field to catch the treetops. Nothing else moved except the taller grasses, and most of the birds and all the animals were absent. One moth from the night clung to the window looking in with sleepy eyes, sheltered by the overhanging frame. It was a very dreary day indeed and good for quiet contemplation and respite from weather related aches and pains. The field looked so much greener today and the flowers out front had perked up from their semi-wilted state of yesterday.

We knew it would rain today without looking at the news report, because the robins called for rain last evening. They are such a common bird that it is easy to pass them by and not really pay them much attention, but if you listen carefully, they give quite a commentary on the state of the yard and are good weather predictors. Their hollow bones are very sensitive to air pressure changes, and they tell us about it in special phrases we can learn to recognize. Many things come to mind with the rain… “raindrops keep falling on my head,” “the quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath,” “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” “singing in the rain.” We have dedicated much song and poetry to it. It is understandable since our bodies are mostly water and our lives dependent on it.

Photo contributed

We are sometimes accused of not having enough sense to come in out of the rain, but if we do, we miss so much. A walk in gentle warm rain is very pleasant and appeals to all our senses. After brutal, hot days it is very welcome. Donning old clothes for a walk through the wet trees is calming and refreshing. Sneakers squishing, the head cools and the water tickles as it runs down the face, over eyes, down a shirt and legs. It is a natural cleansing and baptism in its purist form.

The earth gives off new smells of mud and aromatic plants and shrubs. Dust returns to its source and pollen floats to nourish and form new life, especially from the flowers in the field. Cats stay out to hunt and come in all damp to rearrange their fur and tell you all about it. Most dogs revel in the rain and see to it that you become as mud spattered as they. Raindrops make different sounds on different leaves and thick conifers offer shelter if the rain increases. Looking up you may find an owl or be scolded by chickadees for being too close to their young. Be still and quiet and they may relax and reveal where their nest hole is located. You may earn their trust and they will share their active lives and families. They know the shelter of these trees and can find insects to eat and stay relatively dry. That is a gift to us to keep the gnat and mosquito numbers down. The little brook bubbles over rocks and becomes slightly louder as the water level rises. Today the robin says that the field and all will sparkle again tomorrow when the sun comes out.

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