Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Into Each Life...

Be still sad heart and cease repining;
Behind the clouds the sun is shining,
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life a little rain must fall.
 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Simplon Pass: Reading - John Singer Sargent
Watercolor, 1911, Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston, USA

Yesterday morning, as if on cue from some heavenly director, the skies spilled out a cold steady stream of rain.  Caring for my still-sick Little Beauty (please go away, Ivan the Terrible), I watched from the window all day as the unceasing droplets descended from the sullen winter sky. Sometime around mid morning I realized it was high time to acknowledge this period of rain in my life.

Rain From the Window

Into each life, I thought. Better to recognize the downpour and open an umbrella than to bury my head and pretend it's not raining.

It's raining. Cats and dogs. Literally and metaphorically. Whoever first said, "When it rains, it pours" was absolutely right, and I'm soaked to the skin right now. 

Scheveningen Women and Other People Under Umbrellas
Vincent Van Gogh Watercolor, The Hague,1882

Ultimately, though, this is not about me. This is about several very important people in my life who are going through serious health crises, and the ripples caused by these disturbances. Three...three are locked in serious battles with cancer. Another dear one is experiencing life threatening difficulties caused by Cystic Fibrosis.

All men, all dear to me for one reason or another, each of them is way too young and way too undeserving of such difficulties.  The ripples reach from parents to spouses to children and grandchildren and friends and others, eventually crashing into the concentric ripples of the others.

Word came late Monday from My Twin, a physician, who had spoken to the doctors concerning their investigation into our mother's recent falls and encroaching dementia within the last few months. The neurologist has diagnosed ALS (Lou Gherig Disease) or similar progressive neuropathy. One test remains before putting a period after the diagnosis.

Within forty-eight hours, we've gone from wondering how our mother's health could decline so rapidly, to moving her to a skilled nursing center, to discussions about hospice care. It sort of boggles the mind.

And so, I'm enterting a rainy season. As Longfellow said, it's the common fate of all. I know the sun will return in due time. I think when it does, I will take my mother out into its radiance and read some lovely books and poetry to her, just as in the beautiful John Singer Sargent watercolor painting pictured above. Watercolor. How perfect.

For now, though...for just a little while,...I must honor the rain.

Today I wish for you to know that "behind the clouds, the sun is shining."

The music selection today is Eric Whitacre's "Cloudburst" sung by The Tower Choir. Many of you may know Whitacre as the composer behind the virtual choir production of "Lux Aurumque". He is a brilliant, inventive, 21st century composer with classical taste. I think he's fabulous.

Please be patient as you listen to the storm clouds build during the first few minutes. The harmonies are amazing. The cloudburst appears after the five minute mark, when the singers and musicians employ everything from finger snaps, bells, drums, claps, and voices to produce the wind and rain. Listen, and you will see the droplets which fall and cause those overlapping, concentric ripples.  Enjoy. 


  1. I am sending prayers and love your way today to help wash away some of the rain and hope for a little sunshine in the weeks ahead. Be strong, dear one. xoxo

  2. Thanks so much, Linda. I feel much insulated from the rain by the warm support of dear old friends, and dear new ones, like you.

  3. Oy vey. Yes, you're standing in the rain, not perhaps in the mood to sing in the rain, but you will persevere with grace and lovingkindess because that's who you are. I'm so sorry you're having to anchor for all these awful unfoldings within your circle of family and friends.

    I love John Singer Sargent. Thanks for the beauty of these images.

  4. Word verification for the above comment was "scream."

    You can't make this stuff up.

  5. No, Reya, you can't make this stuff up. Sheesh. That's so perfect.

    Luckily, there are many who are anchoring for these awful unfoldings. I am just one who sits in spirit with those who suffer.

    Sargent saw everything with such beauty...landscapes of the earth, sea, and sky, as well as the people who dwell there. I love his work. ♥

    Thanks so much for your loving thoughts, Reya.

  6. Jo, I have no wise words to soften the blow of these trying times in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Reya perhaps said it best: Oy vey.

    If you can only know how soothing and uplifting your words, pictures, and music have been to me these last months. In the grayness of winter, I would try to find the light and beauty that seemed to be so evident to you.

    Now, with the storms surrounding you, it is endearing to read the supportive words from your followers/friends. I do, indeed, know that behind the clouds the sun is shining. It shines every day when I read your posts.

    Your mom will adore you reading poetry to her.


  7. there's some room under this umbrella. here.

  8. "Mama said there would be days like these". Boy do I feel your pain and have no words except know you are loved beyond belief...

    Love the words, painting and the music as always..

    Keeping you in my prayers GOLDEN ONE...

    Love and a little peace to you my dear friend...

  9. Jan, your words touch me deeply. I can't begin to tell you how much they mean.

    You're so right about the community we share here. Hearing from these beautiful, insightful friends (and you are one of them) is the highlight of my day. I learn far more from you than I offer up to you.

    If I've brought anything positive to your days by reading this blog, I'm honored.

    Oy vey. ♥

  10. Thank you for the chivalrous gesture, Dubby. You are so kind.

  11. Vicki, you always brighten my day. Thank you for being there for me, dear sister/friend.



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