by Shelley Fowler
I changed things up a little with my edit. Final version follows…
It was well past midnight this past Friday, but I was far from sleepy. After being on the road for five days it was good to be back home, and yet I couldn’t get settled in for the night. I noticed that the moon was full and playing tag with lots of puffy gray clouds, so I decided to go join them.
I made my way to a dirt road southwest of town, turned off the ignition, sipped some coffee I’d bought at Love’s, and sat back to watch the show taking place up above me.
From time to time, the moon would peek at me from behind the giant blanket of roly-poly clouds. Mostly, it stayed hidden, creating with its brightness, silver linings and rays of soft light falling to earth. And then, for one brief moment, not only did the mighty night orb show itself in all its splendor, but it was joined by one magnificently twinkling star. Both were framed by the towering columns of clouds. So beautifully did they dance together in the sky, I almost clapped my hands in appreciation!
As I witnessed the heavenly display, I was also listening…to the wonderfully muted sounds found only in the country. From time to time a meadowlark would trill a short, somewhat lonely song, but the only steady voices I heard were from the crickets somewhere out in the grass, rubbing their back legs together in sweet harmony. And then a chorus of coyote howls rang out across the darkness, sending a (good) tingle down my spine. They were met with yips and barks of a couple of pups. It had been so long since I’d heard the voices of the elusive coyote! And so I did what came naturally. I filled my lungs with air and howled an acknowledgment in their direction. (Oh, but it felt good to howl!) At first, there was no response, but then one more chorus of howls and yips wafted across the grasslands, settling in my ears and upon my heart.
I knew I should get back to town and off to bed, for by now a couple of hours had passed beneath the drama of shadow and light created by the clouds and moon. But, the final act of the play was just beginning! Far on the southern horizon and in miniature, golden bolts of lightning began appearing, followed by random sheet lighting that lit up the clouds. And to the east, bright bursts of pure white light, minus any rumbling of thunder, beat out a rhythmic pattern. I got out of the Jeep and walked a ways down the dusty, dirt road and just stood there, watching Nature play itself out before me.
And then the first drop of rain fell squarely on my nose!
Being an eternal optimist, I knew that dirt roads and rain weren’t a good combination, and that fact drove me to finally leave this little piece of peace and drive towards town. But only after inhaling that tantalizing aroma that comes only when the two meet.
Fat, wet drops of moisture splattered noisily on the windshield as I pulled onto the blacktop. But, just then the raindrops ceased their descent. And I suddenly found myself wondering if Mother Nature was a ‘tease’. Or was God not listening to the prayers of ranchers, farmers and the rest of us?
I was feeling disappointed as I drove the deserted highway towards the lights of town, looking through the stale raindrops on the windshield. Then, as if I needed reminded of it at that exact moment, a verse from the Bible came to me. About being “thankful in small things”. So, I quit feeling disappointed and began purposefully thanking God for every single drop of rain – few that they were – that had made it from the sky to the earth.
I began seeing in them a promise that God was indeed listening. And possibly hoping to hear more praise than grumbling from my lips? Not only about rain for our parched lands, but also about life! For after all, there are so many things that warrant my words of thankfulness!
The lightning was still flashing in the distance as I pulled into the garage and made my way past the dogs and into the house. Finally spent and sleepy, I slipped between the bed sheets and laid my head upon the pillow, whispering one more heartfelt, “Thank you for the little things, God”.
Just as I began drifting into slumber, I sensed a bolt of lightning, followed by a boom of thunder! I didn’t rouse, I didn’t flinch. I just fell the rest of the way into sleep listening to the sweet song of a rain shower falling from heaven and upon the lilac bush outside my bedroom window.