I love the sound of rain. The soft pitter-patter on the roof, the little taps as the drops hit against the window. I love the feel of the water against my face, when I get caught outside. I prefer the warm rain in the Summer as opposed to the colder ones that tend to occur in the early Spring and the Fall. And then there’s the smell of rain in the air. I can always tell when its going to rain soon, by the smell in the air.
Friends have often asked what my attraction is to the natural world. Why am I not happy within the confines of the inner city, with its majestic, towering steel and glass odes to the power of mankind over his surroundings? Why do I always feel the need to get out of my comfortable suburban life, where there are plenty of trees, lots of manicured grass, and even a nearby lake where I can stroll on concrete walkways near the shore? I can only smile, and reply that I prefer to be somewhere – even for a short time – where I am not the controller of my environment, where I am on equal footing with all the other aspects of the environment. And the typical response I get is a bemused look and a gentle shaking of the head, as I am slowly categorized as a “hippy”, “tree-hugger”, “Al Gore acolyte” or many more amusing descriptives.
I get the perspective they are bringing about. I live in a very conservative part of the state of Texas. Very dominated by the southern Baptist strain of Christianity. For instance, in Denton county (where I live), the voter registration rolls have the county at 93% Republican. I cannot go very far in my own neighborhood without passing a Baptist church. In fact, in my three mile circuit that I walk in my neighborhood, I pass two Baptist churches that are about 1/4th of a mile apart. I’m a Pagan on a Path of Druidry, and a “Bill Clinton Liberal” with an unaffiliated party stance. In other words, aside from my white skin and the fact that I am a male with higher education degrees – I am in the minority here.
It would be easier to move elsewhere. I am drawn very much to the mountains of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. I have taken vacations all throughout that area, and have spent many hours communing with the Spirits of the Land there. But its here in DFW that the jobs are currently located. I could easily just proclaim myself to be a Southern Baptist Christian and register as a Republican – essentially don the outfit that allows me to fit in. But then I would be living a lie, and while I might be able to do that for a time – it would wind up eating me alive.
No, I am who I am. I am a Nature-loving, tree-hugging, hippy Pagan with liberal political leanings. But it makes me wonder. What the fuck does it matter? So what if I don’t fit into their round=peg hole? So what if I am the 3-d triangle in the pile of blocks? I should be able to openly be who I am, without fear of retribution. I should not be shunned for who I am. And yet, I hear voices from beyond the veil that remind me that it does matter. Matthew Shephard was beaten to death for being “different”. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazi government of Germany rounded up people that they deemed were “different” and separated them from the rest of their society. We all know the history of the holocaust. And there are so many more examples that continue to this day in other parts of the world – Africa, Israel, Ukraine, here in the United States, North Korea, and the list goes on.
And after the genocide that happened in Europe during World War II, humanity cried out “never again”. And yet, incident after incident shows that it has happened again and again. And continues to do so. And somehow, some way – it has to stop. I could blather on about how labeling of people causes some of this. How this or that applies to what is happening and what has happened. That politics, religion, racial hatred – these all have a hand in things. But the reality is that all of that comes back to one basic thing. We are all inhabitants of this planet. Humans, animals, plants, geological aspects – we are all made of the same stuff. To borrow from Carl Sagan – we are all made of star stuff. Perhaps its past time for us to stop, think, and remember that.
I do love the sound of rain on my roof, the feel of it in my face when I am outside – but sometimes, I stop and wonder if its rain that I feel – or the tears of the Gods…