07-18-2015 | Lindsay

It has been a watery summer, rain in many moods appearing on nearly 30 of the last 40 days. We have had almost 15 inches in the last several weeks, more than we usually get in a whole summer. It drizzles, showers, spits, pours, storms; it comes capriciously in fits and starts, or thunderously in colossal downpours. Our roads are rutted, leaves mounded and cast aside by careless torrents. Our streams and rivulets gush; the waterfalls cascade and splash; wading pools on Krishna Brook and Rocky Branch are thigh high.

When it's not raining, the watery air clings humidly to the earth, and everything steams. An invisible but palpable fog wraps the forest. Mushrooms flourish: frothy white, brilliant coral, rusty reds and browns, deep cream: tiny domes, flat discs, cups, buttons, clusters of knobby orange bubbles. They pepper the woods in marvelous variety.

We've encountered the rain in varied tempers. One stormy day in mid-June, Kate and the girls returned home to Deer Spring to discover rainwater rushing in a spontaneous river down the slope from the field beside the garden, pooling by the front door and flowing under the sill. Grabbing every towel in the house, Kate started piling them in the entryway while calling for help. Scot came running with a pick ax, and he and Luke quickly dug a ditch, diverting the flow toward the creek. It was a rain of biblical proportions: almost two and a half inches in one hour.

In the cooler mornings, the barely there rain creates mist in the forest, drifting among the trees. My favorite icon of mystery, mist is not quite water, nor is it air. Its in-between quality whispers of thresholds and liminal spaces, and I love to walk in it. I put on my rubber boots, my slicker and waterproof pants, my brimmed hat, and for a time am invited into another world.

Yesterday afternoon, it rained while the sun shone, drops sparkling through the air as they fell. The flat leaves of the grape arbor shone like mirrors; the beech tree glittered. Then the clouds thickened and built themselves into dark blue hillocks, and the rain changed its song, became emphatic and dogged, drumming on the pergola and pouring down the honeysuckle vines. I was reminded of a passage of Thomas Merton's, from "Rain and the Rhinoceros" in Raids on The Unspeakable, written during a wet evening in a cabin in the woods:

Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside!...Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.