Jewish World Review August 12, 2011 / 12 Menachem-Av, 5771
By Paul Greenberg
The first drops splattered on the office window like a forgotten promise about to be fulfilled. It had been so long I didn't recognize the sound at first, and wondered what the tap, tap, tapping was. It came tenderly, tentatively. Like a child's kisses. But then -- ah, then! -- there came a rain. A full-throated, soaking, overflowing rain, pouring down like a mighty stream. Like long awaited justice.
The sound of it, so long missing, swelled like music. Like a concerto of water. First diminuendo, then climactic crescendo. You had to stop and just listen, then look out to confirm the good news, and delight in the drops and ripples and puddles, the full gutters. At last! Praise the Lord!
I just stood still, riveted, lulled, accountably happy. Nothing else mattered. Not now. It was raining! I was reminded of the story about the old boy who said he would sure like to see it rain -- not for his sake, you understand, but for the children's. They'd never seen it.
Rain stories, or rather stories about the lack of it, are legion in the middle of a summer like this one. Over in
Rain humor can be as dry and bitter as the weather west of the Piney Woods, where the Great Plains begin to set in like the Gobi. This year
The high holidays are approaching for us Jews, and there is a prayer that pictures the Lord Almighty sitting at his great ledger and recording next year's fate for every living soul -- who shall have rest and who shall go a-wandering, who shall live and who shall die, who by water and who by fire....
Yet it is drought of all curses that seems to inspire a peculiar dread in this still agrarian culture. Perhaps it's the gradualness of it, the unchanging sunny regularity of it that makes men lose hope and drives women mad. It comes ever so gradually, dry spell turning into record drought, extinguishing hope so slowly, that only later do you realize you'd forgotten what rain was.
But this is supposed to be verdant, blessed, water-rich
Earlier in the day, I'd thought myself lucky to find a parking spot a block away under the shade of a sparse little tree. Now I would have to borrow an umbrella and hop over flooding gutters to make it there. I was sorry -- that it wasn't two blocks away.
As the water swirled around my ankles. I understood why some cultures celebrate monsoons with water festivals. It felt good. It felt like
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