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A Bigger Story than from Dust to Dust? Let's Hear from a Raindrop

So say it loud and let it ring

We are all a part of everything

The future, present and the past

Fly on proud bird You're free at last.


Charlie Danielswritten en route to the funeral for his friend, Ronnie Van Zant of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd.


Twenty years ago my good friend died.  She’s still close to my heart.  A few weeks ago someone in my exercise class came up to me before class and said, “I know you had a good friend who died years ago.  I had a good friend who died years ago also, and I still miss her.  I know you do too.” We teared up right there and hugged.

 In my childhood, funerals could last for days. “From dust to dust” we murmured. It was hard to understand. One of my grandchildren recently told me that she can’t wrap her arms around the idea of not “being.”  I know how she feels.  I used to think about death and tried to conceive of not being.  I thought about my ancestors, my progeny; imaged the past and future. A time when I wasn’t and won’t be.


Then a few years after my good friend died, I started looking out my window differently.  It was Easter.  The snow-capped view of Mount Cashmere chilled me still, but right below sprang a field of wildflowers.  The Indian paintbrush, balsam, lupine and all sorts of yellow and blue bells covered the hills of Flowery Divide. I gleefully thought to myself of how they would last until the Wenatchee sun turned the hillside into a desert in late June or early July.  I was deflated for a moment, but consoled myself… they’ll be back next spring right around Easter.  And I was strangely comforted in some deep place. 


Now why is that?  I can’t explain it.


When I listened to and later read “A Letter from a Raindrop,” by Glen Carlson – a friend I have met through this blog, it touched that same strange place – that feeling of connection to life going on and on in me.  It did something to my husband, John, too.  We teared up.  I simply cannot tell you why.  All I can do is largely offer the letter to you. It seems somehow fitting for the season of Easter and resurrection.


Though I only have some of it in quotes, all of the following comes from Glen’s creative mind…now the letter.


The raindrop writes the letter in her present state as vapor from a cloud.  But “she” (I say she, but who knows how genders work for raindrops) recalls her initial encounter with Glen.  She picked up his vibrations long before he stopped and lingered before her.  And though she doesn’t see well and her hearing’s not the best, she made a great connection with him and tells how she blushed as he gently approached her, surveyed, and observed her as she lay on a rumpled leafed-bed of scented rose hip.

 Then she says “I know you thought I was gone forever when your camera bumped the leaf and I rolled off, but I never hit the ground.  I landed on the toe of your boot and clung there…”


The raindrop continues telling about her adventure. She hung on to the boot for all she was worth…riding along until she was sluiced off by her own kind into a shallow stream, then carried off to become a river again.


Evidently the raindrop expected to ride the river all the way to the sea, but instead she ended up in the stomach of a yearling doe as the deer quenched her thirst. Hours later, she was passed on a south-facing scree slope high on a mountain and soon evaporated to become sky again.


The raindrop mentions that she and friends are waiting for the dew point to rise, then they will  bond, grow heavy and ride the rain roller-coaster back to earth.  She claims it’s one of their favorite things to do.


The raindrop reminisces about her strange life.  She was born in the forging heat of a distant star’s molten core and set space-ward when her planet mother went supernova.  She roamed the universe for almost a billion years until she ran into a couple of crazy hydrogen molecules who’d been hanging out together since the Big Bang. 


Everything changed after that.  She hitched a ride on an asteroid when Earth was still barren.  Ever since, she says, she’s been on the water cycle, peddling around and around the planet for millions of years.


“I’ve seen mountains rise and oceans fill, been locked up in glaciers and buried deep in aquifers, lived in living things more times than I care to recall and have been a raindrop so many times I could have filled one of the lesser Great Lakes!”


Finally, she confesses why she has chosen to write the letter. 


“I do so to acknowledge the unseen in the seen, to open your eyes to special surroundings where the material world and the spirit world mingle and exchange vows.  I once fell as a tear onto a newborn baby, was absorbed into her body and remained there a good while as she grew.  It was a sacred space inhabited by profound connection.  You and I are connected in a similar fashion….”

And that is the wisdom she tries to impart…that we are all connected.  “When you looked through me on that leaf, that’s what you saw.” Then she follows up with an important message, “I write to say, keep looking…”


I sent Glen’s Letter from a Raindrop to many of you already.  I hope you are enjoying it again.  One of you responded to me afterwards, “I want to be a raindrop.”  It does sound pretty fun. 

And I bet if we could adopt a bit of the raindrop’s attitude and perspective, we’d enjoy our own trips around the sun a lot more too.  And wouldn’t she have a ball being us? Getting to eat a chocolate truffle. Hugging. Dancing. Smelling roses. Remembering all those we have loved. Quite an adventure if you come to think of it...much bigger story than simply dust to dust.


Why do I share this with you today?  It seems right for Easter and resurrection and Spring.  And…another thing.


I’m holding in my heart those of you who have lost spouses and friends and parents and children. And…I’m thinking of all of us mortals who may begin to think (when we get of a certain age) that it’s all downhill now. Well…maybe…and maybe… not…think like a raindrop.


Thank you so very much, Glen (I wish you would make it into a book!).


How might we journey to the Good Life… enriching it, enlivening it, expanding it, savoring it, freeing ourselves by moving our minds' eye around?  




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