Today was one of those rainy sort of days. Not the kind where it sputters and spurts but in-between there are little breaks of pleasantness where you can go outside and breathe in the fragrance of the blossoms and drink in the Creator's beauty. Instead, it was the kind of rainy day where you have to wait. How often I knelt on the couch to look out the big picture window I can not count. My knees gently pressed into the soft, grey cushions beneath them, while my elbows rested firmly against the smooth, white, window sill. My hands formed into little fists to prop my chin up, my own reflection clouding over as my warm breath met the glass. Not even the birds were out to play. The birdbath overflowing with rain-water, the feeder on its tall, cedar post, empty. The fading yellow daffodils with their heads bent low and nearly touching the ground, looked sad and tired in contrast to the sunny afternoon of yesterday. Craning my neck toward the gravel driveway I could make out the shallow mud puddles, their dimpled complexion immediately confirming that yes, indeed, it was still raining. When I was a child and looking out the window in much the same manner, my mom, noticing the rain drops on the window pane would always tell me, ” Even the windows are crying because it is raining outside and you can not go out to play.” Now I have a friend who is always telling us the titles of chapters that will go into her imaginary book that she will someday write. Often after a struggle in her life, or a crazy event in her day she will pop off with a new title. The titles are either profound or comical but either way we always have a laugh about them. Following in her footsteps I decided I might title this day as “Sometimes You Just Have to Let it Rain". Maybe I will adopt the practice of titling my days.
Eventually, after hours and hours of checking, the rain finally began to let up. I really couldn’t wait for it to stop completely before venturing out under the drippy skies. That first breath of fresh outdoor air after a rain is pure delight. Ironically, I wish I could bottle it and save it for a sunny day when I am missing the rain. Really, I actually love the rain, but on my terms, not when I want to get back to gardening. There is something about a spring rain that enhances everything outdoors. The colors are more vibrant, the sounds more delicate and the scent, unbelievably perfumed. I pushed the large, chunky, buttons through the knitted buttonholes of my green, wool sweater, slipped on my rubber gardening boots and walked down the creaky wooden steps of my porch, running my hand along the cool, wet handrail. Just a little walk around would do my soul a great deal of good. As I examined and appreciated each new texture and scent, I paused at the newly blossoming apple tree. I remembered the cherry tree was full of beautiful blossoms last week, but this week its blooms were faded, while small, tender leaves now began to appear. Glancing back at the apple tree, I imagined its blossoms fading next week, and pictured in my mind, firm red apples adhered by their little stems to the knobby branches in place of the delicate, blushing flowers.
After a sweet, leisurely walk around I felt satisfied that everything was as it should be, so I returned up the creaky wooden steps, removed my boots, now shiny from the lingering wet grass and hung my sweater on the kitchen chair to dry. As I walked to my bedroom for a lighter sweater, I past the little table of earrings and lipstick, and the long, white- framed mirror with winter hats still hanging above it. Glancing into it, I took a closer look, frowned, and then smiled back at myself. I've been noticing my age lately and often long for the beautiful supple blossom of my youth. Like the delicate blooms on the spring apple tree, the beauty of youth is fleeting and we often wish for its return. But, when the growth of green leaves begin to appear, the petals begin to fade away. It happens so slowly that before you even realize the petals are gone, the first fruits have begun to form. The journey ahead; the rains, the winds and the droughts, all shape and grow those former blossoms into substance, giving them their sweetness and flavor, their quality and purpose. After the passage of time, something that once was admired mostly for its beauty has been transformed into something differently beautiful, but now very valuable as well.
Isn’t that how it's meant to be? Yes, I miss the smooth, glowing skin and bright smile of my youth, but I’m growing into my purpose. I am, by design, intended to feed and nourish those around me. There is a hope and intent that brings a sweetness and gives fuel to my relationships. Yes, “Sometimes I Just Have to Let it Rain”. To let my soul be watered and nourished. To grow and be strengthened at the cost of fleeting beauty can be a bit painful, especially when we are astonished at the petals of the ground at the first storm. But the first grey hairs, the first wrinkles and sags of skin give way to the lasting beauty of purpose, committment and wisdom. We are now equipped to enrich, uphold and fortify our relationship not only with ourselves but also with our friends and family in a way we never could before. Wholly and uniquely beautiful.