by John C. Westervelt


     It is mid August, and I just read an email from Tara, managing editor of the Tidings, listing the theme for the upcoming October issue.  As I finish reading, I can hear rain on the roof, even though the sky is only gray.

     I move to the front porch to sit and ponder.  The air cools.  Seeing, smelling, and feeling the rain brings to mind a story I wrote nine years ago.  I’ll share it with you here.


     “When the mid-summer rain begins after supper at seven, the sun is still shining brightly.  I move to the front porch with bread pudding and a cup of water to watch and listen.

     “The thunder rumbles softly in the east and in the west.  The sky turns gray, but never dark.  The branches of the willow tree across the way swirl, rather than lean, with the wind.  I slip into a light jacket because the air has been turned upside down.

     “The grass, trees, plants, and I rejoice, knowing that an Oklahoma summer can be dry.  I listen to a staccato tune played by the gutter downspout as the amount of water falling inside waxes and wanes.

     “The wet driveway across the street reflects the front of the house.  The whole outdoors looks and smells clean.  Off to the east, a streak of lightning rushes from a cloud to the earth, or could it be the other way around?  I slowly count to twelve before the noise reaches my ears.  Some of the lightning flashes nearly horizontally from cloud to cloud with a softer rumble.

     “It’s now nearly eight.  The sky is a lighter gray.  The robin must think that the shower is passing, for she has come out of hiding to visit my front lawn.  In a moment the robin leaves, as the handle on the faucet above is turned counterclockwise once more.  Water in the gutter downspout flows continuously again.  If the Author of the rain desires more rejoicing, He’s got it.

     “He must keep His hand on the faucet handle because the downspout is making music once more as the rain from the roof is dribbling rather than flowing.  Where the water stands on the sidewalk, circles begin in miniature and grow to intersect a circle originating from the other way.  Gravity is the choreographer who continuously changes the patterns that wrinkle, then smooth, the reflected sky and tree.  I unzip my jacket as the cool air departs.  Everything is still.  The reflector is now a mirror.  The Rainmaker has shut the faucet.”


     On this August day of 2008, the rain was soon over, and I moved back to my desk.  Reviewing the email just received, I saw that the October Tidings theme is from I Thessalonians.  In the opening verses, Paul is filled with gratitude to God for the Thessalonians’ faith.  Likewise, I was filled with gratitude to God for bringing an August shower to a dry land.


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