Ode to Rain: Epistle of Love

My love, my Rain.
I pine to feel your life-giving touch,
Your cool caressing embrace; ah, and this –
to hear those rippling and rapping sounds of your rhythmic voice.
I want those old feelings you once brought to me,
that I may again enjoy your aqueous presence. Indeed, to rejoice.

I miss familiar coolness, that softness you bring to the heat of the day,
as you contrast sky with clouds, and you paint the blue away,
I miss feeling peaceful and calm as my senses delight
when you gently fall over a long summer’s night –
I excite in anticipation of your first drop, with your sweet dripping touch;
shower me, Miss, in the pleasures of your cool moist mist,
no less than my heavenly reward, is when you’re ever-so saucy,
and you graze on my skin as it covers my body.

Please drip me with precip, wonderful Rain. My friend, my lover;
bring into my thoughts your kiss from above,
be in my dreams. Sing your sweet soaked song to me.
You, the essence of life, as you always will be,
preciously close, come here with me, this life is ours.
Bring me your gifts of awareness and pleasure,
of consciousness, gratitude, and love me forever.
Where are you Rain? I miss you too much!

Playfully poke me with your pluvio-pleasures.
Show me your ways with nature’s wet treasures.
Sprinkle your affection all over this heart you bless;
Taste me. I’ll feel you near. I yearn for your watery caress,
glide across my eyes and down on my face, go hide
under my clothes, cover my body as you slide.
Touch me, dear Rain, where no one else can.
Where are you now? Fall here on your man.

Sing me your songs; play me your drum!
Match to my heartbeat, your musical rhythm
and the welcome-home tapping of your wet little dance.
Tell me with distant rumblings, per chance
how you save the world, how you knew
the first life. You created all that is true.
Sing softly as you send water over me
as you finally wash my misery to sea.

From clouds you descend, mixing torrent with nature,
as I take into my body your mischievous essence.
Allow me a smile as I acknowledge your substance,
into my heart, I take your sensuous vapor.
Into you, I ply my being, stroking romance with your scent.
Cascade over me. Where are you falling?
My lovely, loving Rain? You are heaven-sent.
Plunge decadent raindrops to wash and to ease
my dry scorched body to ebb away my gloom.

With dew-moist feet, we dance into the night. We breeze
through those puddles of love that share our delights.
Happily we move with bushes and leaves of the trees.
We delightfully smile at all the night lights,
seeing your wondrous mysterious intrigue.
Invitingly, I see in the distant dark sky,
your distinct flickering lightning, drawing me nigh.
Come closer to me, be with me Rain, rain and rain.
Mix with these gentle breezes again.
My Love, My Rain…I miss you. Come, wash away this bane.

Bill Reynolds 8/10/2017

Look both ways for the rain, rain, to come and play.
We’ll find the sun another day.
Mind the dry gap and wear sunscreen.

Footnote: I really do miss the rain. I moved to the PNA (partly) because it rains often. We have now officially shattered the old days-without-rain record (51), now at 55 days with no rain, and counting. If I wanted this shit, I would have moved to freaking Arizona.

In Forest Rain (NaPoWriMo #2)

Haibun Poem is a combination of a prose poem and haiku. As developed, the writer would first describe something in prose, then write a haiku appropriate to the place or scene. This was the first prompt provided by the NaPoWriMo web site.

Experience Life

In Forest Rain

Walking along a forest trail during a gentle rain, emotions rejoin surroundings to human nature. It feels so right. See glorious trees, green vegetation dancing with raindrops. Feel connected. Nature paints portraits of life with movement. Moisture mingles in soil; sends life to earth.

Hear the rain. Be mesmerized by the sound of natural life – earth as it should be. The rustling sounds of birds and animals as life deals with nature’s wet gifts. And the rain. The glorious rain.

Feel soft, spongy earth. Feel rain pecking at us as other animals respond to a refreshing cleansing. Touch moss hugging trees, a reminder of life on life, natural interdependence. Feel rain penetrate to caress our skin. Become one with flora, refreshed. Be pleased with the universe.

Taste the freshness. Be the salt of the earth. Belong here. Smell pleasant scents following rain. Forest releases magical, glorious aromas. Nature at work. Belong and know this is life, a cosmic interconnectedness. Be one with the universe, as its vastness finds paths to weave fateful patterns through space, through time, and through all, to the tiniest speck of galactic dust. We’re all connected.

Haiku

Rain falls on all
See life dance all around
The deer drinks

Look both ways; but look, see, smell, taste, and feel. Mind the gaps, not the rain.

Interdependence, Knowledge, and Belonging

Knowledge and Science

From the tiniest thing to the vast secrets of the universe, what will humans ever know? Will anyone ever correctly proclaim that all knowledge has been discovered and may be known or available to everyone? I doubt it.

Our galaxy – one of many

Science helps us understand our natural world better. But, science provides information only through descriptions from observations. With science, we may understand better what an earth quake is, or how to grow more soy beans, but ultimately the answers we receive from research are observations.

Microscopes, telescopes, laboratories, and other equipment for tests and measurements are among the tools used to make these observations. Yesterday’s scientific conclusions lead us to today’s information, and then to the changes we will read about tomorrow. It was scientific observation that convinced us the sun, stars, and planets revolved around the earth. It was also science that convinced us that was not the case.

The discoveries of science change. Does truth ever change? When I look around at our natural world, I see is what humans have done. Everything I see, while either part of nature or taken from it, was placed, caused, or permitted by humans—to a point. Other life forms may make their mark, but that will last only if humans permit it. When we don’t allow nature to progress or we interfere, it can be disastrous due to our limited knowledge. It may be science, but we don’t know everything and we can only explain so much.

Sensing and Nature

 

The spectacular trees

While nature is everywhere, my senses respond more strongly outdoors, in unfamiliar surroundings. I notice things less in my usual, everyday world. Change awakens my senses, whereas routine numbs them. Walking along a forest trail during a gentle, but persistent, rain provides stimulation that rejoins my surroundings with my own basic nature. It feels so right.

Seeing the trail, the roots of the magnificent trees, the green vegetation bouncing and dancing with falling raindrops, I feel aware and connected with the essence of life. It’s all here with me: sky, water, rich aromatic soil, and scree giving softness to my footsteps. Nature paints portraits of life and movement. I see how moisture mingles with the soil to send nutrients of life to plants and to quench thirsty animals, of which I am one.

Hearing the rain mesmerizes me as it falls where it will, on the leaves of trees and brush, onto the boulders and earth, and into the growing puddles and flowing streams. This is the sound of natural life – earth as it should be. The rustling sounds of birds and animals is alerting, as life deals in with nature’s wet gifts. And the rain. The glorious rain.

Feeling the soft, spongy earth beneath each step, I look down to see how the lovely wet soil now clings to my touch. I feel the rain pecking at me as it does upon the flowers. Animals respond to the natural bathing as a refreshing cleansing.

Touching the soft moss on a tree

My touch to the soft moss hugging tightly to the trees is a pleasant reminder of life on life, the natural interdependence within nature’s home. Against my face, and over my entire body, the rain penetrates cloths to caress my skin. I become one with the flora. I am refreshed, another being, pleased with our universe.

I can taste the freshness of the day. While rain on my head and face washes into my eyes, other drops find their way to my mouth, adding salt to the taste – the salt of the earth. I belong here.

A forest petrichor is the most pleasant of scents following rain. As the sounds and sights change with the gradually ceasing rain, and the forest begins to release the magical and glorious aroma of nature at work; life flourishes. If there is a heaven, it’s right here, right now, with me. I feel completely connected to nature. I yearn for this life, as it should be. I know this is life.

Awareness of Belonging

I become aware of the cosmic interconnectedness of everything. I know I have my place, fitting in with everything in the universe. The vastness of the cosmos finds the path and weaves its pattern through space, through time, and through me to the tiniest speck of galactic dust.

While science can provide words, descriptions, and explanations for everything that I sensed during my inspired walk in the forest rain, nothing can explain the deep, soulful feelings I experience when the vastness of nature communes with me. Conscious awareness.

Our senses perceive the environment as we discover nature and life.
Our sixth sense is that of belonging to the Universe.
Look both ways, discover the gaps, feel where we fit in.

Bonus Post – Look Both Ways

Bonus Post – Look Both Ways

I just finished watching Look Both Ways, a 2005 Australian independent movie. I watched it because I had one of those idea moments today.

As I was walking on a sidewalk next to a busy street, I approached a minor street to cross. I glanced left, but was not yet crossing when a car came from behind me and turned right, quickly passing directly in front of me. She was driving a little too fast, did not signal, and may not have seen me. I checked to my left again for traffic and safely crossed the street.

Before I reached the opposite side, I realized that I had not looked to my right to ensure no cars were coming from that side. I recalled being told repeatedly, as a child of five or six, to look both ways before crossing the street. While the threatening traffic was on my left, I should have looked right.

I’m also in the process of reading How to Write Short, a book by Roy Peter Clark. Dr. Clark’s book has me thinking about how effective we can be with few words. Thus, I had one of those rare moments when an idea comes to me.

Look both ways1Look both ways can serve as my metaphorical phrase for living life—staying alive and healthy. I can see it as considering all sides of an issue (pro and con), hearing people out who may think different than I, discerning dangers of life, being careful, remembering lessons from our childhood, trying different things and new places. Can you add to my list?

Here is my advice: look both ways.

There are about a half-dozen books with the title Look Both Ways. I only found the one movie and I’m glad that I watched it. I enjoy that kind of flick. If you like artsy, emotional, love-story-ish movies with lots of music and relevant singing in the background, give it a go, mate. I had to get my ear tuned to the Aussie English, but I managed. I found it for two bucks on Amazon, but you might find it for free on YouTube. Warning: tear jerker. See the official trailer here.

Look both ways3

There is no vegemite in the movie, but she does say, “Are you giving me the flick?” That must be Australian for Are we breaking up or Are you dumping me?

Furthermore, starting this Tuesday, each blog I post on Our Rainy Journey will end with some comment about “look both ways,” at least until I tire of it. And, yes, there is rain in the movie—they get wet.

Look both ways4

Suffering, Love, and Creativity

suffering5

I don’t think I suffer more than average. When I find the enthusiasm to write about myself, I’ll include those painful and dark times from my past, along with the many good ones. I will be unable to link any of it to my creativity because I see no connection.

WebI do believe that to a degree, suffering is optional. I’ve seen people suffer unnecessarily, and I’ve seen those same people get over it.

In my blog tagline, I intend rain as a metaphor for my dark side, but it could also be for pain, suffering, or difficulty in life. The reaching for the sky is either embracing our human dark side or recovering from painful times. Such painful times often come with lessons making them valuable.

Until I read Big Magic, I gave little thought to suffering’s association with creativity, talent, and giftedness. I thought Elizabeth Gilbert’s treatment of the topic was a bit condescending (maybe it’s not). Perhaps it’s me, but telling alcoholics (or drug addicts) to get over it has limited success. On the other hand, many alcoholics told me that the painful consequences handed them by life at the bottom was motivation to recover.

suffering6I think that what Liz bemoans is using suffering as justification to be creative, talented, or gifted, thus making an excuse for hanging on to the bottom. We shouldn’t suffer just because we think it improves our work. I’m concerned because I know people die on the bottom. I’ve experienced great things from living artists, suffering or not – nothing from the dead ones.

I don’t take the relationship between our creativity and suffering too seriously, but I am less apt to dismiss it as some others may do. Conversely, I believe talented people do not need to suffer to be talented or creative. I am a happy guy who loves dark poetry, stories, and the dark side of human nature. Following my review of a memoir recently, I told the author “This is a sad story. Your job is to make me cry.” I’m advocating emotional writing, not suffering, hers or mine.

I avoid pain and consider that normal. Just ask my nurses when I’m having surgery — higher is better. And don’t even talk to me about my dental appointments.

suffering11

While researching this topic, I discovered that I’m not the only person who finds this subject interesting. The available resources on the topic are sufficient for a doctoral dissertation, followed by two books.

I found this link to a blog (here) and a video of a talk (here), both involving Sharon Salzberg. Both are pretty good and not too long (the video excerpt relates to happiness and creativity).

And who does not love this song by Don McLean? It certainly relates to suffering and art.

 

I also found a site (here) with a collection of information on this and associated topics. It links with other sites and pages for developing creativity and personal growth. Be sure to check it out if you’re interested in any challenges to a creative life.

“Creative artists are fifth in the top 10 professions with high rates of depressive illness. But does depression attract them to the job? Or does the job make them depressed?” “…the reality for the sufferer is that depression is so debilitating it’s impossible to create anything at all.” ~ Helienne Lindvall

suffer6To love what you do, and the love of doing it, even when it is gruelingly difficult (and maybe more so when it is) may be the answer. What I’ve read seems to recommend this. Love your art! Do it for the love of the work, the art, the creativity, the experience. As Stephen King says, do it for the “buzz.”

The concept of a reciprocal relationship with our art was also introduced to me in Big Magic. Doing the art because we love it and love the act of doing it, despite the challenges is one thing. The idea that our art can love us back took me some pondering. Liz Gilbert says “why not?” I’m on board with her. Why not? Maybe not always and forever (although our art will likely outlive us), but at least sometimes.

Gilbert balks at calling our work of art our ‘baby,’ but this seems totally normal to me and many others. We don’t equate art to human babies. But it does vocalize the love we may have for our hard work, often more than nine months worth.

From "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon

From “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon

In Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon provides two excellent graphic depictions. One describes the challenges and difficult process of creating from an idea. The other depicts that love relationship we have with our creations.

From "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon

From “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon

May you be lucky in your love with people and with your work. As Austin says, “Do good work and share it with people.”

Have a wonderful weekend and be happily creative to your heart’s content.

Whatever works for you

Whatever works for you

Spiritual Poetry

I love the spiritual nature of this poem.

rainyday1

      The Rainy Day

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

       ——-By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

rainyday3

Longfellow invokes the value of our dark days and the transient nature of life for each of us.

What does his poem say to you?

rainyday2

Rain Man (you knew this was coming)

RIn a scene from my childhood, I watched through our living room window as kids my age played in a rainstorm. They were laughing and having a wonderful time getting soaked. The streets and gutters were awash. One boy sat down in a flooded gutter as the water pushed against him and splashed hard around his body. I felt envy. Not because they were having fun without me, but because they were playing in the rain. I was home with my mother, and she told me that I couldn’t go out because I would get soaked and catch my “death-of-cold.” I have since learned and admit more about myself, and about colds.

Rain 1The word ‘pluvial’ refers to rain or something characterized by abundant rain. The suffix ‘phile’ denotes fondness. Consequently, a pluviophile is one who finds joy and peace of mind on rainy days. I was taught that rainy days were sad, as in the Carpenters song lyric; “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” I was to believe nice days were sunny, cloudless, and warm. I’ve never felt that way. Sunny and pleasant days have their place, but few are enough. Later in life, I admitted to liking cloudy, rainy days. I now identify as a pluviophile. These days, I’m often asked why, after more than twenty years in California, Texas, and Florida; I recently moved to the Pacific Northwest. I ask, “Do you know what a pluviophile is?” Like it should be news to me, I’ve repeatedly been told “it rains a lot there.” I reply with a smile, “Yes, it does.”

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” ~ John Updike, Self-Consciousness: Memoirs

ShawshankRainWide-1 Rain 4My involvement with rain changes with its many forms. Scientific names apply based on how it comes about. But, I am talking about how the rain itself varies from torrential downpour to a gentle drizzle. Duration, wind, thunder, lightning, air temperature, and other factors contribute to our experiencing rain. There are times of rain just falling, and times with thunder and lightning. There is morning rain, afternoon rain, and rain at night. Each is emotionally and physically encountered differently. It can be seen and heard while keeping dry, thus precluding feeling the rain. Only outdoors can we dance in the rain. If I don’t perceive rain with senses—I just get wet. Our world changes when it rains. We need it, just as we do sunshine. To me life smells, feels, looks, and sounds more alive in the rain. In the city, rural areas, and in the forest, everything improves. When I am with the rain, I heal and recover. It’s a spiritual exposure difficult to explain. I’m not especially spiritual, but in rain I sense life — nature.

street_by_night_2_innsbruck_by_maradong Rain 2I recently delayed my daily walk when rain was forecast. After waiting for the rain to start, I donned shorts and tee. I was off in good spirits, expecting to be, and was, soaked. After an hour, I was back home. I sat on a dry and covered bench, removed my soaked shoes and socks, slapped water from my dripping baseball cap, and chuckled. I was thinking how others might consider me deranged. But, this is why I’m here.

Nighttime rain is different—good, but different. There’s more drama on rainy nights. When I have a challenging day, I like to experience night rain by imagining the character of Mike Hammer from a Mickey Spillane crime novel. I picture me on a dark, moonless night; standing under a lamp post illuminating my silhouette. With muffled, distant thunder following flashes of light, rain sparkles from the beams of the light post. I wear the characteristic trench coat with raised collar and a gray fedora,Rain 8 tilted forward and cocked right. The front brim bent slightly downward with water flowing off. The sound of falling rain is all around. I hear it splash into puddles and onto sidewalks. With water moving everywhere, I forget the day’s problems and the annoying people. But mystery is afoot. Like it or not, Mike Hammer is involved. And of course, there is a woman. As Hammer, in the writing of Spillane, I mumble, “In the flora and fauna of the Bowery, she was a lot of flora and quite a bit of fauna. She looked like she belonged in a field of Wyoming wildflowers instead of wandering through the human backwash of the avenue.” In the night rain, I can do this. Rain brings magic and drama.

I’ve passed through forest after a rain. My senses were filled with sights, sounds, and the aroma of nature. There I can see and feel it because everything is wet. For me, awareness of water is experiencing the essence of living.

Tony-Yazbeck-in-Singing-in-the-Rain-Drury-Lane-Theatre Rain 5Let’s take life, rain or shine, one day at a time. It’s about how we feel. We’re not alone in our emotional response to rain. In the Pacific Northwest, we love the outdoors, rain or shine. Too much shine and we miss the rain. After some rain, we’re ready to let a little sunshine in. “In every life a little rain must fall….” Of course, and why not?

“The richness of the rain made me feel safe and protected; I have always considered the rain to be healing—a blanket—the comfort of a friend. Without at least some rain in any given day, or at least a cloud or two on the horizon, I feel overwhelmed by the information of sunlight and yearn for the vital, muffling gift of falling water.” ~ Douglas Coupland, Life After God