Kiss of the Rain


Photo by Waldemar Horwat, remixed by me, both images subject to this creative commons license

A set by Waldemar

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

Langston Hughes 


When I was a child, perhaps five or six, I would sometimes stay at my maternal grandparents  home in St. Charles, Virginia. Their white wood house, the largest in the small coal mining town (my grandfather managed the mine), nestled against a steep, heavily forested hill. In the level front yard studded with crab apple trees, halfway to the road and a mere foot or two from the whitewashed wooden fence marking the boundary line of my grandparent’s property, stood a working round, stone and cement fountain some six feet or so high.

In the late fall, as the trees lost their color and the grass withered to a dullish brown, it often rained in the morning. Not a hard rain but a long and drenching one; a rain that roared in a whisper, a constant hissing sound that harmonized with the gurgling of the fountain and was backed by the rhythm of raindrops splattering on the sparse leaves remaining on the apple trees.

Those mornings, after breakfast, I would sit with my grandfather on the wide screened porch. We would sit in old, white wooden rocking chairs and listen to the rain and gaze silently out at the gray, drenched landscape. The air was uncomfortably cool and smelled both wet and sweet. Time seemed to stand still, the rising sun’s light completely masked by the hard, colorless sheets of the morning rain clouds. Nothing moved those mornings except the dying leaves trembling or falling under the unrelenting assault of the rain. No dogs barked. No birds sang. No cars rumbled up or down the narrow road leading to my grandfather’s mine that passed by just fifty yards or so beyond our porch. The only sound was the rain; all else was mute.

Now, some fifty six years later, I recall those gray mornings I spent under the spell of the soft and steady Virginia rain as intervals of damp enchantment. Now, when the rain delays or stops me from accomplishing whatever urgent business I believe, in my aging adult way, must be done, I try to calm myself by remembering those mornings on my grandparents’ porch; those mornings when the steady, autumn rains embraced the world and me in liquid tranquility. Now I try to remember there is nothing more important than the rain.

Photo by Manuel Holgado, remixed by me, both images subject to this creative commons license

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