Rain continues to fall and there is “water, water everywhere”. The streets are flooded on the corner by Jennys’ house, so much that folks now resort to driving down the quiet lane, where the lilies grow. The laughing river takes on a hue of lavender, when the sky is pewter . The landscape is doused with the muted colors and is the epitome of tranquility.
On these days, lamps shine through the windows of cottages and estate homes, as well. It is a cozy and cheerful effect. The air is cool enough to make me want to put a pot of soup on. What an odd year of weather, it has been. Never have I thought about soup in July! As a matter of fact, Jenny and I were talking yesterday, about how our tastes change with the seasons. I love gingerbread, but not until after the first hard frost, do I attempt to make it.
By late afternoon, the city had sanctioned off the street in front of the house. Will and Jennys’ property, is on high ground, but the sidewalk and the street were covered in a pool of river water. Lyla asked to play in the rain, as children will do, so Jenny got her the appropriate gear and off she went. There is something about summer rain and children . . .there always has been. I remember being allowed to play in rain, as long as it wasn’t thundering out. We were told to stay away from the ditches, at all cost, though for we were likely to get the “ditch itch”. I suspected then, there was no such thing, and “google ” has confirmed it. The ditches were close to the road and of course did hold a substantial amount of water compared to the puddles in the yard. The fear of the “ditch itch” kept us cautious -and out of the country road. My own children played in rain, if conditions were right. They came in muddy and had to go straight to the bath, for they were country children. . . but to them it was worth it. As a young girl, I caught rainwater to rise my hair. Rain water softens hair, I can state with certainty. Now I catch rainwater for my house plants.
Lyla stood very still under an umbrella for the longest while, gazing in to the rain. The rain fell in sheets around her, but she was as still as a statue, watching it fall. It was a new experience for her and it it seemed very important. I watched her absorbing the event of a torrential downpour. I wouldn’t have interrupted her, for love or money, in those moments. Children still love rain. . .hopefully, they always will.
The world looks different under such conditions, and it is the business of humans to understand their world. We start in childhood, when the sense of wonder is ignited by things like rain. If we do not take caution, we become distracted and detached from life in its’ purest forms. Then, we are just working to “keep the lights turned on” or contemplating purchases. We think of such mundane things like status. How very dull. I think of the verse “become as little children”, as I watch Lyla twirling her umbrella and catching raindrops on her tongue. Could it be that at least partially, the meaning of this verse, might elude to our maintaining the natural curiosity we are born with . . . of things like rain? It seems reasonable to me, for heaven made things also, naturally provoke the heart to well up in gratitude. . .and that can’t do a bit of harm.
It rained heavily most all afternoon. I ended up making a pot of soup, after all. It did make a suitable supper . . .even for July.
Thursday dawned, much like the days before it. . . with rain. With the street in front of the house being flooded, the porch was a quiet place to sit. There was a slight commotion in Miss Thelmas’ yard.
Miss Thelma is Jennys’ 94 year old neighbor. She and I became fast friends, not long after Will and Jenny moved to this house. I was sitting on the porch, when a lovely lady with long silver hair made her way slowly across the street. She brought a bag of chocolate and said she had just come to welcome her new neighbors.
She spoke eloquently with a gentle voice, as she told me her best friend, Edith had lived in this house for many years. Not long after that day, I carried Miss Thelma some cookies and that was the beginning of our friendship. Now I visit with her when I come to Elizabeth City. I feel like I too, knew Edith now. Miss Thelma and her husband live in a huge house, alone. Mr. Ellis is 96 years old and bedridden. Miss Thelma feeds the birds and that was what all the commotion was about this morning.
I suppose since, it was raining, Miss Thelma was late for “the breakfast”. Birds of all variety were swooping around her front door, for that is where she sits to ration out bread crumbs and fruit. This morning a male cardinal stationed himself in the nearest branch to the porch. A pair of doves, were beneath him, in the wet grass. A small flock of sparrows fluttered back and forth, perpetually. They were responsible for most of the commotion. I do like an early morning ruckus, of this sort.
Between showers, the day was sultry. I planned to walk by the river, but showers sprung up at the “drop of a hat” and so it was better to stay in and tell stories. We read books and Lyla built towers, when she wasn’t pretending to be somebody else.
For the first time in a week, the early serviced was bathed in a bright, golden sunshine. There was a soft breeze blowing and the clouds looked like a strand of of pearls, and very much out of reach. The water covered streets were reduced to mere puddles. Folks were out walking their dogs again, and riding bikes. Miss Thelma fed her birds on time and so the little village was back to its’ usual state of peacefulness.
Today, I return to the rabbit patch. They say “All work and no play” didn’t do Jack a bit of good. I suppose “all play” isn’t a virtue either and I have done a good deal of playing. I will leave with a storehouse of memories, though I do not expect Lyla to take my departure any better, because of it. On the other hand, her youngest uncles will be glad to see me. Cash, my boxer, will gallop wildly around the territory and Christopher Robin, my sweet gray cat, will do his best to snub me, but his purring will give away his joy at seeing me.
Lyla joined me on the porch and in an attempt to soften the fact that I was leaving, I mentioned to her that I would leave this afternoon. Her little eyes teared up and she got quiet. After a brief silence, she said, “Before you go, shall we gather some leaves from the garden?” oh . . “Parting truly, is such sweet sorrow”.