Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Morning Thanks--Rain

This morning just outside
Kathy Bosscher, a saint in my book, says sunny days are so frequent at the Zuni pueblo, where she's been teaching kids for umpteen years, that a morning of soft-spoken cloudiness is pure joy, a comfort, even a blessing. "You may not believe this," she writes in a little meditation, "but here in New Mexico we have so many sunny days that we actually enjoy the warm, snuggled-in feeling of cloudiness."

She's right. I do find that hard to believe.

The opposite, not so. Seasonal Affective Disorder, fetchingly known by its acronym SAD, affects millions of people, who stumble through dark days and nights, sometimes even helplessly, when sunlight appears non-existent. My son was made SAD by working nights at a window frame factory, where there were days--well, weeks--when he never once saw the sun. The phenomenon was, quite frankly, SAD.

But cloudiness as sweet relief is a stretch for me. Ms. Bosscher is right.

Clammy old cloudiness is a way of life if you live around the Great Lakes, where I was born and reared. Weather currents pick up lake moisture like a chamois and keeps it all afloat in skies as endless as they are colorless.

This morning, my doors and windows are wide open because the rain's familiar but rare percussion outside makes for sheer delight. We're not in a drought--Siouxland is almost always blessed with enough moisture to raise a crop. But it was getting a little scary lately, temps in the 90s and the only water out back came from spigots. It's just not the same.

Big Blue Stem in the rain
My father-in-law is sleeping right now, I'm sure, and he's lost his hearing anyway; but when we stop over at the hospital this morning, it will be a joy to tell him we had rain, a nice rain. That news will bring him joy, even though the many years when he worried about his corn and beans have slipped into the fog senility creates.  Regardless, I don't know of any news that will create a smile as quickly as the news of a good rain.

There's not much to say about it, really, but "Thanks." I had nothing to do with it. Last night, or sometime early this morning, it just came, a gift. No one I know seeded a cloud or tried something bizarre or outlandish to turn on the faucet. It just came, like manna. When I got up, it was raining, pure and simple.

Happy green tomatoes in the rain
A number of us have been been reading books from the Great Plains for the last six months, some old, some not. But one of the distinguishing features of Great Plains lit is that the landscape is always a character. A thousand suburbs feature the same big box stores and fast food places along similarly plotted busy streets, as if the same omnipotent city planner created every last one of them. There's no there there. But out here, rain doesn't just fall. It's something of a sacrament because it's not ours to give.

"It's not what you want," my mother-in-law used to say, "it's what you get." That's Great Plains wisdom.

My wet socks left out in the rain
This morning we're greatly blessed. Makes for lousy landscape photography, but who wants a copy anyway when outside, right now, the original is spilling its happiness into a muddy world that's joyfully soaking it all in.

This morning's thanks is for what I'm hearing just outside my window--the delightfully awkward beat of a lovely soft rain.

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