Last night I watched while nature cried. I was trying to hear that song that the rain sings. It was the kind of rain that, if you listen closely enough, seems to tell a story. You could hear the rhythm and words of the song as they fell upon the puddles. It was like reading words written on a piece of paper.
--- Written in 2002 by Lee B., Age 18 --- New York
As I stared into the puddles I froze, hypnotized by the rhythmic beat of the rain. Every time I closed my eyes, I felt a sinking feeling within me. My heart felt heavy, like it was sitting on my stomach. Despite the cold that accompanies a January rain, I was warm- enveloped in the warmth of my soft green bathrobe. Mike, a fellow student, commented that I looked like a professional boxer in my big, hunter green robe.
Outside, I debated whether or not to sit on the cool, wet ground. Finally, emotionally drained, I just plopped straight down and covered my knees with the sides of my robe. I reached into the pocket of my bathrobe. Ah ha, cigarettes. One after another, I smoked them and watched the thick smoke spread out in the cold air, reaching for the light at the security building thirty yards away. For the first 10 minutes or so I wondered what I was really doing outside in the cold rain. Was I losing my mind again?
Another student, Tony, walked out, acting like the jack he's always been. I was too tired to deal with his antics and was happy when John, a thinker like myself, came out to sit with me. He knew I was deep in thought and shared the usual words of wisdom, reinforcing all the cliché sayings, "You gotta' roll with the punches, Lee", and," Don't sweat the small stuff." The corny sayings I'd heard a million times before meant more because they came from him, because he took the time to say them to me but more so because he meant what he said.
Another cigarette later, I was still feeling pretty bad. John had retreated to the warmth of his dorm room. My thoughts suddenly went loose like the rain chanting in the puddles. I tried to make out what it was saying, but I found myself listening to the feelings and voices in my heart rather than the rain. I thought about the past and the present and the future ahead of me. I realized that I didn't want to complain about my problems anymore, I just wanted to deal with them.
The same problems buried my heart alive in the negative quick sand my parents buried me in growing up. My heart still feels heavily weighted from the sandbag they firmly fastened to it. I feel incapable of accepting or giving love with this weight around my heart. I wonder when someone will take my hand and pull me out? I know that I need to get past the stage of suffocating in my problems.
My hand was reaching and someone was there, I could feel their energy and their love at my fingertips. At that moment I began to regain the hope that I lost years ago. She became my umbrella when nature called to cry. She became the towel that wiped my tears and She became the hug that held me in my best and worst moments. I thanked Her and the others for saving me.
I grabbed another cigarette from my wet pocket, lit it and sat there. As I sat there, nature began screaming at me. The loud rumbles weren't beautiful; they were fierce, reminding me that they were a force to be reckoned with, much like my father.
Feeling vulnerable, I crawled back to the building, sheltering myself against the foundation. I was crying more than nature was. I desperately wanted to get off the cold, wet ground and go into the building but something stronger made me sit still. It was the fear, again, holding me captive like a child who won't get up in the night because of the monsters hiding under her bed.
My eyes closed and my body stiffened. I pulled my knees tightly to my chest, locking them there with my arms. I rocked slowly against the foundation of the building. I tried to prevent the rain from extinguishing my cigarette. It occurred to me that I wasn't sheltering myself; I was trying to shelter a cigarette, which undoubtedly would one day leave me stricken with lung cancer. The thought of this made me toss the cigarette in fear. I was sure the cancer was already there and that I was dying right at that moment.
Lights were flickering; I wondered if it was a sign. I was painfully aware that I was losing the feeling of security that She gave me. For the first time I knew I had to sit there and figure it out for myself. Maybe that was why nature was crying tonight. It was as if Nature sympathized with me and cried for me. Was the rumbling thunder her father? Was he angry at her, rumbling at her and scaring her, just as my father scared me?
Finally, I pulled myself out of the rain and up to bed but sleep wouldn't come to me and I found myself lying there, wide-awake. I longed for Her arms to envelope me and chase away my fear. I listened to the rain calming down outside and I felt that same calm come over me. We were both afraid but we understood each other.
I am not sure what made me sit outside last night, but I do know that last night I cried with nature. I tried to listen to the people that have pulled me out of the sand because, when the time comes to face the father of all, we can't cry with nature but become one with the heavens.