Between the Rains

“We’ll have to buy our wood before the rain comes,” he mused, carrying in bags and unpacking their tools. Wood saws, buckets, and gangly narrow planks–reverberating at each step– stacked into the garage or across the hot asphalt driveway. In-laws from the north drove down this week, kindly tackling work projects with us.

Humid air hung heavy and deliciously hot after an April winter. We piled into multiple cars, and snaked the aisles of a home repair store, our list and pencil calculations in hand. We were building shelves, for the garage and for downstairs. In the downstairs family room, years of homeschooling books and textbooks perched in precarious piles, waiting for the three long bookshelves to be completed.

Over coffee and decaf Earl Grey, we worked, sawing, gluing, nailing, and drilling. When the rains came, we inched into dry rooms and continued. Dads, a grandpa, and sons worked. Moms, a grandma, and daughters worked. We younger ones watched carefully as we followed orders, taking mental notes, seeing selfless grace and a hard work ethic. The shelves grew taller. And when the rain came again, we sank into couches for a generational movie night, dusty, sweaty, and proud.

Friday and Saturday, I helped at a garage sale fundraiser for our France senior high missions trip. In between the rains, we stacked shoes and clothing, and arrayed toys and lawn chairs. Rain glittered on sparkly red glitter shoes, and melted cardboard boxes. Under a damp white awning, we talked with strangers, neighbors, and church friends. Teens, siblings, and family members served side by side, next to slippery rain tarps and dripping eaves. In between the rains, we dried items, sold items, and then loaded four trucks of items to give away.

This morning, I ground espresso coffee beans, and washed up the last dishes before my parents arrived. Rain fell heavy on the deck and yard. Soon two flood pools reflected back the sky in streets and yards.

Knocking and entering, my parents slid off shoes, passed out hugs, and pulled out seeds. “I brought the strawberry plants around to the back,” Mom said, bending low for a four year old’s conversation. My dad’s shovels, rakes, and buckets lay ready on the front steps.

We drank black coffee, catching up on news, snacking on peanut butter-topped celery and oreos. Sunshine crossed the yard, splashing on to the deck and railings. We drained our coffee, grabbed hoes, and set out across raindrop-tipped dandelions. My mom planted strawberries, transplanted white shasta daisies, and weeded. My dad and I gathered shredded bark, rolled back faulty weed liners, and reinforced weed barriers in the landscape beds.

Hours passed quickly, and black dirt clung to our faces, knees, and hands. At one-thirty, under chilled grey storm-clouds that darkened the sky, we raced raindrops to finish. In seconds, we lost and, grabbing tools, ran laughing to the door. Later, we peered through wet windows to see beautiful garden beds and new life emerging.

Emerging now after our last rainfall, I snap photos and crow excitedly over each new life. Tulips shine rain drop jewels next to swelling alium buds, pregnant with life. Radish buds crowd in lines, elbowing each other. Pea pods emerge tiny and curled, barely noticeable in the cracked earth. Mint plants weather fierce rains, slipping up to the light. And the ones that get me most? Vivid green raspberry leaves burst from dead twigs chomped to the ground by hungry deer and gophers last fall. The green life amazes and thrills me, surging unexpected from dormant sticks and hidden underground roots.

Rains so often seem to halt activity, yet it is after the rains that I see the most vivid life.

Between the rains, life grows. From the rain, life grows.

Linking with Ann at A Holy Experience.

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  1. Cheryl Barker on May 24, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    I love how lush and green everything looks after a spring rain. So alive!

    By the way, is this the way you all work up north — barefooted? 🙂

  2. Pam on May 31, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Between the rains, life grows. From the rain, life grows.

    Love that!

    Beautiful, Jennifer…

  3. Jennifer Dougan on June 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm


    Barefooted? Yes, whenever possible. 😉

    How are you? How are your daughters?


  4. Jennifer Dougan on June 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm


    Thanks for stopping in.


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