It has come swimming out of a still sky – a great whale that glides to the horizon and sends its spout water cascading to the ground, playing with the leaves on the trees and turning the grass to a shiny velvet. One quick burst and then it’s gone, a single, solitary sheet of water.

In times like these I rush madly about the house, opening as many windows as possible. I want the rooms to breathe deeply of this lightly fragranced air. I stand at the window in the bedroom and watch the wind dance gently with the rain, playing, washing, caressing every surface. Today the window screen stands as a barrier to the water and the boundaries of ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ are respected. Sometimes the rain is not so kind and forces itself against the screen, seeking to expand its territory. Then, with great reluctance, I am forced to close the window, sealing the prison doors. For now I am able to watch as the tiniest flecks of water launch themselves into the pockets of the screen and lodge there, like snowflakes on a Christmas window.

Another wave of water, then another. Looking upward with just the right eye, one can see them. A pod of 20 or 30 at least, young and old, roiling across the heavens. The young skip and roll through the clouds, stealing their moisture and leaving them pockmarked. Every blow sends another shower tumbling earthward.

Drops of life touch his skin, and a frog chirps, squeals and sings. He knows his place in this world and the vitality of this gift from the whales. Of whether he knows the whales bring him this gift I am not certain, but perhaps it is of no consequence. There is, truly, life in the water.

Finally I can stand it no longer, and rush blindly from the confines of my self-imposed prison. I stretch my arms out to meet the waiting hands of the trees and tilt my face to the sky. Tears, joyous tears of rain cascade down my eyelids and fill the pools of my sockets. Water drips from my skin and my feet grow deep into the earth, an anchor to hold me against a flood of emotions. Joy and sorrow, laughter, anger and regret etch the pathways of our existence through our tears. Millions of years have passed since our predecessors first climbed from the oceans to the land, and yet we still carry the oceans within our bodies. When we allow it, they will still flow from us as has always been. In seeking to escape the water we have nonetheless brought it with us. From before the moment of our birth we are wrapped in the warm womb of Creation, and deep within our cells we carry the memories of our ancestors.

As the water sheens from my body and is yet absorbed into my pores, I am taken back to another time, years ago. A friend and I walking home together, me in jeans and her in her trim white dress with the red chemise. As we reached the edge of the parking lot, the first drop tickled the back of my hand. Without warning the skies opened up, and within two steps we were drenched, soaked to the skin. I remember the joy of it, but much more so the confusion written in her expression. As a girl in a traditional Chinese family, she was never allowed out in the rain. Therefore, the experience had not yet met with her, and she was quite unprepared for it when it came. However, the rain came upon us with such speed that by the time she realized it had started, it was too late to hide. She had been ambushed by the reality of Life. And so we walked home together, splashing in the puddles as we walked. Leather sandals and all.

It’s a shame that people have forgotten how to dance with the rain. The whales are waiting . . .

Mike 10/9/2000