The Rain at Dawn

The drops began right before dawn today. The birds hushed a moment and then, suddenly, rain popped against the leaves. At first far off and faint, the thunder woke in the mountains. I felt myself relax, as if a friend had arrived.

It rained a lot the first few years after I came to Colorado. Not gently, either. The storms would sweep in from the West — from over the mountains — and dump sheets of water blown by the wind. They came in the evenings and violently hastened the sunsets. At the Coffee Shop, we would crowd under the eaves with our arms and legs covered in goosebumps to watch the streets swirl with water.

The storms could be strangely bonding. I barely knew her, a young woman from the college, but she and I once stood side by side for nearly an hour in silence as a huge storm passed over — our arms touching of their own accord, as if we were old friends. Afterwards, she thanked me for watching the storm with her; and instead of thinking it strange, I felt the same gratitude. The experience of those storms was something you wanted to share.

It seldom rains that hard anymore. The rain today is coming down gentle, and the birds are back to singing, undisturbed by it. It won’t be long before the air starts to cool, and then it will begin to feel like the town is being renewed.

Maybe that’s why I’m so fond of rain: That sense of renewal it brings. At the moment, I can’t think of much else that does that besides rain — and sometimes the early dawn.  But maybe I’m not thinking hard enough.

What brings you feelings of renewal?

11 thoughts on “The Rain at Dawn

  1. the first glimpse of morning upon awaking… still foggy and subdued from dreams, before reality and consciousness creeps into my thoughts… simply awake and unaware… the body is renewed for a instant, for a second, for a moment… and then…

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  2. I also find rain refreshing and renewing. Especially living in a drought stricken country. Early mornings, too, are glorious for that fresh feeling.
    I also find watching birds and animals in the wild gives me that sense that all is right with the world and it will just continue on…

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  3. For me it is the oily baby leaves on trees after they have shed all they had in the previous months in an effort to renew and reinvent themselves. And I am reminded of what Tom Robbins says about this kind of renewal:
    “isn’t it refreshing that trees can undergo periodic change without having a nervous breakdown over it? ”
    Isn’t there a lesson for us humans there?

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  4. Oh, Paul, how homesick you’ve made me! Arizona monsoons were incredible: clear skies, and then the sudden build-up of clouds, lightning splitting the sky apart, and BOOM! With the thunder came a cloudburst that seemed like the entire world had turned to water. Gorgeous.

    There was one storm that dumped so much rain in an hour that our neighborhood turned into a lake. We kids ran out afterward and sailed our boats under a bruise-blue sky and an incongruous rainbow. I still remember the gritty feel of dirt and plant matter on my legs and between my toes as we waded out.

    We don’t get that here in Seattle. It just rains. Constantly. Softly. There’s no stark contrast between dry and wet. It’s beautiful, don’t mistake me – but there’s a beauty in starkness that Seattle will never have.

    Then again, Arizona didn’t have clear running streams right outside my house, with the huge weeping willow looming out of the mist. Those misty mornings are what renew my spirit now – I go out in the dawn, stand on the bridge over the creek, and look at a scene that looks like it comes straight out of a book on Japanese Zen. It’s the most restful natural beauty I’ve ever known.

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  5. Hmmm…. all these nice watery images make me feel just how dry is the area I’m living in – haven’t seen rain for about 6 weeks and none in prospect! But the flip side of that is the flawless blue skies and the clarity of the air. My apartment’s on the 23rd floor and has huge windows so the sense of space is astounding. And some days I see huge black and white birds soaring and wheeling out there in the air, wings flashing white as they catch the sun… that’s my restoring time.

    Not to mention the often rather beautiful sunsets and moonrises over the mountains!

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  6. @ Dana: Thank you so much for sharing that! I can almost walk the Arizona landscape in your words.

    @ Lirone: You’ve made me wish I lived in a tall building with huge windows! Thank you!

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