Today, the Rain Won

Today the rain won. I declared war too long ago to remember; but today, the air that the rain cleans fills my blood with a defeat so fresh and bright that it’s hard to imagine forgetting. I attempted too much when I took on the rain. From the first plummeting charge, it was a defensive battle; and, although I defended so long, time was indeed my only munition.

Lying in silence this morning, the spring wafting sweetly its polite greeting, I listened to the combatants still pounding at the windows, piling by the masses, one atop the other until every gram of earth was heavy with their numbers, and I prepared myself for another charge.

It wasn’t any different, today, than any other. I stared out the door and onto the covered patio as the battle tore. The rain never ran short of cavalry. It never waited for opposition; it never expected opposition.

I opened the door and stepped into the open air. The carnage was heavy today, the atmosphere thick with casualties. But the rain had endless brigades. It never tallied its losses. It gathered steam and built morale while it decimated the battlefield with its own loyally suicidal army, and I slumped into its unremitting cannon-fire.

Neither were the wounds any different, today. Rain like today’s can weigh you down, make you droop a fraction lower with each descending blow, but not enough to stop the fight. And so I looked up and took it in, assessed the degree of dilution that today would promise.

When you look up at the rain it seems overwhelming. You see every drop as it makes its way to earth—to you. You see the expanse and the extent of what challenges you. It’s not the cross-sectional perspective that you’re used to seeing, broken by the landscape, fleeting by briefly on its way to the ground. You see it in total.

As I took it in today, I felt something in its assault that there hadn’t been before; or something that the rain poured into me as I fell upward into it. Like loosely packed clumps crumbling from the muddy banks of a mountain stream in spring, when the cold, melted snow fills it to capacity and it begins to pick away at the softened earth, I had been eroding. I had been ground—moldered more by my own resistance to the rain than by its storm. Today, I awoke a fistful of pulpy, viscous mud. I’d been weathering away without notice, until today. Today I was a cluster of silt, ready to disappear into a puddle.

And as the falling rain relieved me of the structure that I strained to hold together, it came down harder yet. Grain by grain, it wore away what little I had left, and it came down harder yet. Where once I stood on solid footing—contending every ounce of rain that soaked into my skin—I now began to sink, or, rather, to soak. That is to say, as the weight of my insurgence waned beneath the drowning rain, I soaked into the earth on which I’d stood, and spread throughout it as if the earth myself; and I was fluid.

I seeped into the ground, and through it. I was filtered through the sediment until whatever substance that made me ran as clear as the rain that pushed me, and it pushed me harder still. And down each inch, a finer sieve. The rain and earth wrung liquid from all the tissues that I’d fought so long to keep dry, never knowing they were drowned already—saturated with the years of rain and with an empty passion to resist its cleansing.

In a single day, an endless disinfection crushed my soiled body through the soil of the earth until each speck of me was spread throughout its extant and no whole was left; and a scattered array of sorry pieces, sunk below the gravity, collected in a pool of nothing but the physical parts that once were me.

The rain was full of power and righteousness today. A moral nation, victorious in its moral crusade, smashing through an agent of sorrow and misery, the rain swelled with pride and glory today.

But the rain, today, was warm. Today it poured to earth benevolent. Today the rain washed hate from every surface and left nothing in its wake.

And as the parts of me began to pool and coalesce—as I began, again, to come together—the rain kept falling. It immersed me in its tepid flow, allowed each piece to drift and meld together until I again was solid. Yet the rain had beaten something out of me; something so ingrained it once decided what I was; something that, today, established who I was. And now, today, I know not what that was. For along with this, the rain swept out the last remaining urges of the war we made, and all it left was translucence. It battered and remade me, shred every fiber holding me together, scattered them through the cold and crowded ground and brought me back together in itself, and I was rain.

Fresh. Bright and clear and defeated, I rest. Now, beneath the building clouds I wait. They promise rain, and I wait. I wait with childish passion, waiting for the spring to grab me by arms and wrench me from the soil. Studded in the specks of earth that feed the spring, I thirst for promised rain.

Today, I woke a barren mass. Today I fought to will a drought, just as countless days before. And on this day, that mirrored all the other days—that staggered into being like a stoned and bitter fool, squinting in the light of day and begging for the night—I found my fight, and lost. And in my fall a haze was cleared. A bitter taste was sweetened by the crushing weight of rain. Today a thirst was quenched. Today the rain took hold the stress and kneaded it away. Today, the rain won. Today my thirst for rain is strong, but my throat no longer parched.

Bill E.

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