Nature and Earth

I look up from my work at the computer and notice for the first time the gray curtain of rain outside my window. That sacred presence that crept upon the land so slowly, opening itself up into a downpour over this city of steep hills and huge rivers with such unrelenting patience that it’s easy to believe the rain could go on forever, pounding over the black slate rooftops and gathering into the gutters.

And it does. I turn off the air conditioner and open the windows to let the breeze and noise-song of the storm in. The smell of summer is delicious and sweet and warm in my lungs. The red brick of our neighbor’s house darkens to a deeper, mottled red across the narrow span of the alley. Our tiny garden nods and nods to the rhythm. Down the street, thunder and lightning play over the woods, wetlands and ravines of the sprawling city park. I’ve been caught in the rain during walks there more than once, drenched and squilching through muddy dips in the trails, slipping on wet rocks, hair matted down into my eyes. Maybe there is nothing so holy as the mingling of sweat and rain on the skin during a hot, suddenly dark summer afternoon.

The rain seems like it could go on forever, but even as I write the storm spends itself back into sunlight, and what is left is the bright illuminated green of the trees limp and dripping against a backdrop of threatening gray clouds that are already moving on, tumbling over themselves and tripping like heady, clumsy giants against the foothills of the mountains to the east. The resident couple of cardinals come out to preen themselves on the power-lines, bright male and dull female, each a shadowed silhouette against the brightening, churning sky. Illumination and obscurity in their unending dance.

That is all there is to it. The rains come and then, they are gone again. The earth is so ancient our history is only a small, flimsy garment we try to drape inadequately over her great shoulders — yet she is so much younger than we are, utterly open and changeable and responsive. Across the alley, the bricks already begin to dry again in the sun. Who says that nature is not beautiful and wild has given up the task of attending. Aren’t we meant to take joy in this? What else is joy for?


This post is part of the 30 Days of Druidry creative writing project.

Alison Leigh Lilly
Alison Leigh Lilly nurtures the earth-rooted, sea-soaked, mist-and-mystic spiritual heritage of her Celtic ancestors, exploring themes of peace, poesis and wilderness through essays, articles, poetry and podcasting. You can learn more about her work here.

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