Sitting in my writing hut, I raptly listen to splatters of rain on the cabin roof. It is curious to me (as I mull the continuing exigencies of our chosen rural lifestyle) that since my last post, it has not rained, not one drop. This was over a month ago. The ground gapes in wide cracks; the grass has turned brown for the most part, and we fear for our water well’s unknown capacity. The driller assured us it was a “good well,” being artesian, but aquifers can and do run dry. The gift of water—like those of health and peace—demands a deep period of grateful contemplation and attention. Eyes wide open.
Normally not a desert, our northwestern edge of the Black Hills usually remains greenish through the fall months. Even past an early snowfall, our gardens and trees have generally continued to flourish. Not so the more sensitive species, like basil and the leaves of squash however. . . But while my husband attends the gardens’ needs, I dutifully perform my watering tasks and keep to schedule: the orchard trees, the fruiting bushes, the herbs. We notice the diminished size of several varieties of vegetables this summer—tomatoes, eggplant and ears of corn—but they taste particularly sweet, as though having struck a bargain in lieu of weight.
The apples may or may not have time to fill out, and this would be disappointing, as more hang from the branches than in previous years. Fingers crossed, I continue to water. “Doesn’t matter; carry on,” I hear from my observer. Remember The Observer? The one you may have read about in Psychology 101? I just completed a further review of a work-in-progress, examining our lifestyle choices, paired with memoir, and in it I make brief mention of this observing psychological construct. Such is the thirteen-year-old me who has the advantage and distinction (now) of having watched my so-called growing-up. Not quite having reached the cusp of crone-dom, having earned “elder” status (if ever I do), this in-between state I occupy at present seems to complement my thirteen-year-old self: not a child, nor yet a young woman. Thirteen was—is, a between place, a liminal age. Like mine today, at sixty-eight. One of my own constructs, Things happen in the liminal places.
How this pertains to an intermittent rain interrupting a drought is suspect, yet I seek the parallel. (Why else has the notion occurred to me?) Fractals and patterns erupt continually during these strange days. . . Anyhow, as the rain fell yesterday (and into this day) I opened windows to its strains and heard the barrel filling from the roof gutter run-off. I heard it as laughter—all that gurgling and splashing, a spectacular giggling symphony to joy. Definitely an ode.
My observer, I have decided, wants to play with me, employing the skills I’ve managed to learn, through love of writing and playing music, in order to do this: Just. Play. This morning I read in my news feed that nostalgia is actually good for us—that reviewing one’s difficult, and/or wistful parts leads to a more fulfilling life. The rain falls, to arrive like the bright visit of a thirteen-year-old self, come to visit, bringing forgotten joy.