Its a sound I do not hear that often here in Texas. The pitter-patter of drops against the roof of the house. Rain is one of those sounds I absolutely love. Unfortunately, the rain comes along with some sporadic lightning this morning as well. I am all too aware that being outside when lightning is around can be a dangerous thing. I remember at one mountainous location, a group of friends and I stopped to walk along a rather scenic area. We could see the rain-clouds boiling up the edge of the mountain, shooting high above our heads. Occasionally, we would be pelted by huge, cold rain drops as we walked along. About two-hundred yards from the cars, all of our hair started to slowly rise in the air. Not from the wind, but from the static electricity in the air. We knew right then and there that it was time to head back to the car….posthaste. Rarely, do I stay outdoors when lightning is around.
This morning’s rain is a slow, cool, wet drizzle. It reminds me of the rainy days we would get in Germany. Where the rain would start out as a mist, almost as if it was coming out of those mist making machines you see at various baseball parks around the United States here. Very fine, very cool, very soaking – even though it didn’t look that way. Then, over the course of time, it would be replaced with a barrage of rain-drops, and the sound of these drops landing in the pine needles around us in the forest was a relaxing one.
The area around Kaiserslautern is riddled with tons of walking trails. Any free day that I had, I was usually found on one of these trails. Along the trails, were lots of old Roman fortifications that were in various states of ruin. Kaiserslautern was an important Roman outpost on the “frontier” — the wild Germanic tribes and the Celtic tribes in France were both nearby. So, many places were the site of walls, towers, and fortifications. The trails were essentially littered with the remains of these built-up areas. In some places, there were also small hollowed out areas and very small caves. As is typical, many of the youth in the area utilized these particular locations for their gatherings and parties – and decorated the walls with their graffiti. Leaving their testament behind for others in the future. Several times, I found myself sitting in the open mouth of one of these caves, to wait out a particularly heavy rain or the very rare occurrence of a storm with lightning.
I have very strong memories of those moments – both sitting in the cave, as well as walking in the rain while in the forests. The closest equivalent that I have found here in the United States is the forests up in Glacier National Park in Montana. But the forests in Germany are a lot different. The Spirits of the Land (SoL for the sake of typing) feel far older, and are a lot more disdainful of people than those here in the United States. Its not that the SoL are scornful of people, its more like they just do not pay much attention to people. Here in the US, I have found SoL to be far more curious about people, in general. But I am diving down a side-path here, let me get back to the experience of rain….
Like I said, its the sound of rain that I truly love. Its the perfect ointment for my soul. When I need to hear something soothing, I have several CDs full of Nature Sounds that are nothing but recordings of rain. But the recordings are nothing compared to the real thing. I have been known to walk in the rain – sometimes with an umbrella, sometimes without. A few friends have considered such actions to be “crazy” — but for me, its a wonderful experience. Sure, some folks may consider me to be cracked – but the reality is that it is a firm recharge for me. Living here in Texas, where it rains so very little and gets extraordinarily hot, I tend to resort to my recorded CDs quite a bit. But when I was stationed in Germany, I had plenty of opportunities to experience the rain. When my family lived in England during my early teens – I had plenty of rain to enjoy.
I get a lot of flak from other Pagans because I have a tendency to eschew ritual. As I have said numerous times before – my ritual happens every day. And its those everyday experiences that make each one unique. No single day is the same as the next. Sometimes, the wrinkles are small – sometimes the entire cloth is changed. But its those experiences that I get to have that connect me closer to the Gods. Its those experiences that remind me I am a part of a larger, living, changing ecosystem. In my opinion, I can choose to live outside of that ecosystem, trying to bend and tame it to my Will – or I can choose to be a part of it, find my role within it, and live each moment by reveling in its uniqueness. For me, its obvious – I choose the latter.