A drizzle feels refreshing

``It's raining, Mommy!'' my daughter yells, running inside with her companions. They laugh and shake their hair like wet dogs. I'm reminded of a newspaper photograph of a man in Sudan, who rushed out to use the few and scarce drops of precious rain that had begun to fall to clean the windshield of his car. Rain . . .

Rain brings out the special smells of places -- the hot, barefoot, summer streets; the tropical foliages; the city deli smells . . . A little drizzle on our shoulders feels refreshing. We stand out in it sometimes.

I never appreciated rain much until I lived for a time in a place where there was little running water -- and not much rain. In spring and summer, we had to shower from a tub on a roof that filled with rainwater. If the tub was empty, the shower had to wait. The town was located on a sandbar on the ocean, but all that water was of no use for drinking or washing. We had to wait for a lot of rain.

Once, a teaching companion and I had decided to explore the mountains near this town. We took with us a couple of bottles of pop from the local shop. In an hour, we had drunk the pop and were beginning to get thirsty. The paths were dusty and hot, but we pushed on, sure that we'd find some water somewhere later on our way.

We weren't able to find water and the sky was a dazzling, searing blue all around us. We found a small shrub and huddled under it, trying to think of anything but water or rain. We took water so much for granted. In Colorado, we had always had so much of it. It could be found for free around the next corner.

Out of the blue, a small group of workers appeared and, without a word, offered us one of their coconuts. We were so grateful for the liquid, and they seemed to appreciate our enjoyment of their gift. When we got back to town, we were hot and sweaty and gritty. All we wanted was a cool glass of water and a shower. But there was no water in the tub. We had to make do with splashing our faces and necks.

The next morning it rained. We were out on the sandbar with a group of students, playing soccer when the rain began. None of us rushed inside to escape the pelting, we all just stopped and stood in the sand, letting the cool rain run down our foreheads and backs.

I think of that time whenever I see the rain coming down my windows in Colorado. Sometimes the Colorado rain is cold and harsh and I don't want to be out in it, but sometimes the rain is warm and gentle, and my daughter and I take umbrellas and walk in the abundant rain and splash in the puddles. I want to tell her about doing without such a simple thing as water, but it seems foolish in the midst of plenty. Rain. . . .

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