The Wonder of Rain

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.  –Loren Eiseley

Here in the Texas hill country on this May Saturday morning, it’s been raining off and on for the past thirty hours or so. The forecast for the next few hours is for more thunderstorms, so I zipped outside just now during a break between showers to take the photos pictured here.  The flower shown above is a Mexican hat, also called prairie coneflower.

pincushion flowers beaten down by rain--they'll perk up

These pincushion blooms are beaten down by the rain but will perk up even stronger when the sun returns.

stepping stone with mother of thyme

A limestone step holds rain while mother-of-thyme luxuriates in the moisture.

blackfoot daisy

A blackfoot daisy holds onto raindrops.

I had to chuckle when I read the following line from the National Weather Service forecast for our locale:

Weather conditions will improve significantly this evening into Sunday.

Really?  The weather can’t get any better than what it is right now.

My birth occurred at the end of the seven year drought in this part of Texas in the 1950’s.  My parents were part of a generation who came of age during the Great Depression, served the United States during World War II, and then, during the early years of their marriage, scratched out a living farming and ranching for those seven years of drought with practically no precipitation.

(If you want to read a brilliant and literary description of the difficulties of that era in Texas, read Elmer Kelton’s novel The Time It Never Rained.  During the time of that drought, Kelton worked as an agricultural reporter and said he spent seven years trying every day to think of some other way to write, “Still dry.”)

So it isn’t surprising that my parents were experts in making do, building from scratch, and doing without.  And they impressed those values on their children.

One of Daddy’s favorite jokes was: “You can never  have too much rain or too many white-faced baby calves. We almost had too much rain one time. [Here he paused before the punchline.]  There was three feet of water in the courthouse.”

We’re in a drought right now that compares in scope and severity with the extremely difficult years that so influenced my parents and their peers.  Today’s rain is only a move in the right direction, not the end of overall dire conditions, but it rejuvenates my spirits as it perks up the plants in my garden.  They’re tough (like my parents), selected for our often arid heat, but they love the rain.  I can almost hear them singing.

It’s heartening to see water do its magic.

Writing Practice:

Complete the following:  If there is magic on this planet, it  _____________ .

Complete the following:  My parents were of a generation who _____________ .

17 thoughts on “The Wonder of Rain

  1. Wow, feel like we could be sisters or cousins. Our lives sound so similar. My grandparents & great grandparents were pioneers in our area of the Hill Country, around Leakey, Kerrville, Utopia. They & my parents were from hardy stock, strong tough people. My father was one of the last true gentlemen of his time, born in Spur TX in 1920. He told me stories of the drought & depression. Just before the depression his parents used their savings to take he & his brother on their first & only vacation to visit family. While gone the banks closed up, people lost all their savings. Dad said at least they used their money for the trip, would have lost it in the bank. My mother is the last of her 8 siblings, she is 87. She is a writer & was friends with Elmer Kelton & his wife. Mom collected oral histories on tapes from our area back in the 1970’s. Put them on paper & her book is being published now, “My Stomping Grounds”. I feel the way you do about rain & native plants. I have a nature center & trails open to public on our ranch between Utopia & Garner Park. I enjoy sharing nature & how to live with rain water collection & compost toilets. You put your thoughts into words that help people realize how precious water is. Enjoyed reading it.

    • Well, of course it feels as though we’re connected! You just didn’t recognize my last name; I know you, I know your mother, and I knew your grandmother. There’s a beautiful pottery bowl in my cabinet made by your dad which is a favorite one of mine for salads, and I think of him every time I use it. I love it that you’re doing what you’re passionate about and taking care of your native “stomping grounds” as well. I will be watching for Bea’s book. And yes–you certainly come from hardy stock. Please check out my post by the title of All Happens Now , if you haven’t seen it, for more of our common story. Thank you so much, LeAnn, for reading and for responding.

      • Chris Boultinghouse?? Hi old friend. I didn’t see a name on your blog. Just saw & read the blog someone else posted on FaceBook. Also really enjoyed the blog “All Happens Now”. Pleased to hear you have one of my father’s pieces of pottery. I do miss him so. Glad you are using your writing talent to inspire others to remember & write! Hugs!

      • Hugs back to you, LeAnn! I always sought out your dad at the arts and crafts fair. I also have two small pinch pots and two coffee cups, each with “Roger” or “RG” signed into the bottom, I believe. Both of your parents were influential to me in their interests and travels and wisdom. So I definitely want to know how to buy one of Lora Bea’s books. Please tell her how pleased I am that she has gathered her stories. Again, thank you for reading. Please share with anyone you think might enjoy it or who might use the writing prompts. You can sign up to “follow” on the right side of the page.

  2. Wonder-full writing, Chris! Thanks for sharing your birth landscape with us as well as your current one!

  3. Chris, great to know my parents have touched others lives too. Glad dad’s pots are where they are appreciated! Mom has a cookbook at printer now, “Cooking Around the World”. Recipes with stories & pics from her travels. We are are going to try to pre-sell them so we know how many to order. At 300 pages column one is a big cookbook. So will probably have to sell for $25. Let me know if you want one, I will add you to the list.

      • Hey Chris, if you have any suggestions or know where to sell & pr-sell books online plz let me know. As I have to take of all this for her & haven’t a clue. Also email me me your mailing address, email address & cell # so I will have it for my list.

  4. Morrison sings about the rain coming down and “It stoned me to my soul!” Rain is living water and intoxicating in drought. I turn my lips up to drink and give thanks

  5. Chris, I have enjoyed reading all of these comments, and your thoughts. You are a very articulate spokesperson for the Texas Hill Country, and so much more. You are also very good with animals and children!

    • Thank you so much, Jeanne. What kind things to say! Since you are such a talented artist, I know you understand how important doing something creative is. Writing helps me stay focused on the here and now instead of worrying about the past or future. I loved meeting and working with Lexi; she’s a very bright and poised young woman.

      • We have so enjoyed having our granddaughter Lexi here for the past two weeks. Now we are taking her back to Austin to catch a plane back to Cincinnati. Sad to see her go, but she had some really great experiences while visiting the ranch. I can’t say enough about Chris and the other ladies who teach the youth horseback lessons. Lexi loves animals, and the horses were very special to her.

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