It was just spitting, only a few tiny slivers of rain, falling from the grey billowy sky. In between clients, gleefully celebrating a two-hour opening in my schedule, I was hopeful as I pulled my bike out of the garage. Little spitting rain. Feels fine, I thought. Surely, I could get a ride in. This day, sun and wind and rain, coming and going, was baffling. I maneuvered my bike (or did it maneuver me?) down the dirt road, a bit squishy after a few days of rain but still respectably passable, not always the case here on Oak Road. Down Oak, across Shore, toward the pond, so grey and splendid and alive with the blowing, dancing clouds crowning it.
It felt good to move; the air, though heavy with humidity, still felt remarkably refreshing after sitting at my desk all morning. Around the pond, back on the dirt road heading out of the Shores, the first of the rain landed lightly, then sounded a bit thicker. Then thicker still, only in sound, no physical contact yet. Then louder and grouchier, the rain spiraled in intensity. Suddenly I felt it, hard, splat! on my helmet, a harsh slap by the universe, instantly saturating my skimpy yellow bike jacket. From zero to one-hundred, the rain accelerated in mere moments.
Downpour! Crashing, pounding, drenching downpour.
Yikes! Not far from home, I focused on pedaling, scrunched over my handlebars, glasses dripping. My completely useless yet stylish bike jacket felt instantly weighted, like the aprons that our dentists plop on us for x-ray protection, while they are safely tucked, far away, in the other room. The day shifted yet again, this time into wet and cold, heavy and loud. I pedaled with all my strength, with growing discomfort. I knew I was fine, with home so close, but I was so physically uncomfortable. Ugh. Then the words came to me, filling me, that wonderous Girl Scout Camp song, always available when needed:
And so, I thank the Lord
For giving me
The things I need
The sun and the rain
And the apple seed
The Lord is good to me.
I chuckled aloud and easily made my way, heart pounding, jacket soaking, these words of truth repeating, an endless loop of perspective, through my head and through my body.
How many years since I learned this song? Perhaps sixty? Still, its ability to realign me, to ground me, is potently alive.
And how many times in these sixty years has this song been an anchor, a mantra, a repetitive realignment into truth?
Many times. And many times more.
Johnny Appleseed, the name of this song which we would sing as grace before meals, is named after the legendary American nurseryman, John Chapman, who planted trees throughout the United States. Folklore at our camp insisted that, when sung, rain was guaranteed.
I loved Johnny Appleseed then and I love it now; I find it profoundly calming, comforting.
It reminds me of the inevitability and the necessity of all of it—the rain, the sun—we don’t get apples without it, all. That which we like, that which we don’t—all truly is sacred, inevitable, each and all one in the web of life and necessity.
I have struggled mightily in my life with the illusion of control. How much energy have I spent trying to “get my ducks up in a row”, attempting to carve reality into my version? These past days and months, I find myself just a bit free from that suffering.
The yogic leap of faith tells me, whatever it is, reality is coming and it will go. As I relax, even a bit, into the fluidity of the moment, the moment is simply easier.
Whatever it is, it will unravel, it will integrate, it will sort itself out.
It always does.
The way toward the sunshine is through the rain.
The way to the faith is through the fear.
All purposeful, all perfect, especially the deeper hurts, the true heartbreaks, who open for us even deeper doors to wholeness.
Home now, I stand, a dripping mess, stripping the sogginess off; I grab a towel and sit by the window.
The rain softens, lightens, relaxes its grip, satisfied, for now, with its offering to our thirsty summer earth.
And just for this tiny, singular moment, so am I.
One breath at a time, may we find our way.
Dear Friends, be it sun or rain, I hope this finds you well. Please keep me posted—as July bids us farewell, what are you noticing? I am firstname.lastname@example.org, always beyond-delighted to hear from you.