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Rain…….how good it is to see you again, even if it was not how I would necessarily want to begin a Monday off from work! Lately, rain has been like a distant relative that comes by for an occasional visit, then moves on to the next place, never staying for very long but leaving behind a few gifts and memories that are as fleeting as the clouds that brought it here. When you are child, a rainy day is not a lot of fun….it usually means indoor time when you want to be outside running, playing and enjoying the warmth of the sun. When you are an adult, it provides an excuse not to be outside where yard work and needed chores can be put on hold for a day of reading, napping or working on that project you’ve wanted to do but just haven’t had the time to start on.

I’ve thought occasionally this year that “Rain” has been a little upset with us here in the South. Its visits have been infrequent and when it did decide to make an appearance, it came with little notice, in short spurts and usually accompanied by some of its less desirable traveling companions like, thunder, lightning and even damaging winds. As a dry spring gave way to an even dryer summer, the grass grew brown and crunched underfoot and only the weeds seemed to find the nutrients they needed to thrive when everything else was struggling just to exist. Rain is something we seem to take for granted until we don’t have it for a long time and the water bills begin to take a bite out of our wallets as we try in vain to keep our grass going a bit longer….but every now and then, on a day such as this one, rain will drop in for a nice visit and stay around a while getting reacquainted with those who have missed it for so long.

I appreciate the rare treat that is day like today, when the air is cool, the sky is gloomy and the house is quiet. I pause for a moment and listen to the sounds made in the otherwise silence of a still house; the soft hum of the refrigerator; the wind blowing through the sycamore tree behind the house and the soothing sounds the rain makes as it falls on the porch. On the back of my chair, I hear the rhythmic patterns of the cat as he sleeps and the funny snoring noises he makes as his stomach rises and falls with each breath, knowing he can go on like this for hours…..that is unless he falls off the chair, something he oftentimes does when he sleeps in such a precarious position. The occasional sounds of a car driving by on the street outside, tires sloshing through the water on the pavement, will break the otherwise quiet and restful atmosphere, then the patterns resume and the restive silence goes on.

I stop writing for a moment to think and as I reach up to rub my tired eyes, my ear picks up the steady beat of my wristwatch as it ticks eight times per second, marking the passage of each minute as the second hand smoothly glides around the dial. It amazes me at times that I can still hear so well when all the usually background noises that go on around here have been removed. Silence heightens the senses, sharpens the perceptions….no Sponge Bob on the television, no seven year old jumping off his bed. No dishwasher cleaning plates, no dryer fluffing clothes, no BlackBerry chirping messages, no Wii Fit workout going on in the game room. Only the sounds of blowing leaves, falling rain, a ticking watch and a snoring cat.

Nothing to see except a soft gray light that comes through the windows, a stack of books on the table waiting to be read, a steaming hot cup of coffee waiting to be savored and a page full of words waiting to be written. Nothing to feel except the keys under my fingers, the warmth of the coffee mug and the occasional flick of the cat’s tail against the back of my neck as he slumbers and dreams whatever cats dream. Plenty to do but not particularly motivated to do it, happy just to listen to the sounds of silence and to enjoy the kind of day that comes far too seldom.

I wouldn’t want this every day. I would miss the sounds of life that are so familiar, those of other people that breathe existence into this house and the things around us that we use every day. I would miss the sun and the sounds of lawn mowers and children shouting on the sidewalk and I would miss the daily routines that, while repetitive, give structure to each day. I wouldn’t want this kind of day every day because then I would not appreciate the uniqueness of it. These kinds of days should be treasured for what they are, a special treat that we don’t often get; a chance to pause and to expand our thoughts, open our ears and to really hear the world around us….and to take pleasure in being one with all of it.