Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rain: A blessing, a curse, a need for action

Rain is falling outside right now. I see drops splashing on the tiny reservoir of water created by the lip on the outdoor table. I see drops appear as they fall in front the dark evergreen trees. I hear the rain hitting the garden window that protrudes from the edge of the house. I hear the rain echo through the house as it hits the metal damper of the fireplace. Rain changes the physical appearance of everything it touches, it creates a sound that is not replicated anywhere else.

I used to vacillate between tolerance and distaste of rain which varied solely on my mood.  Living in Auburn, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, I usually tired of the rain in the winter. The rain in Auburn is not overwhelming, never dangerous, but I used to feel that it was inconvenient at times: getting wet running to cars, or the rain soaking your jeans and your backpack as you walked home.  In San Diego, I always cherished the rain because it was so rare, although I didn't revel in rainy weather as much as my friends who were transplants from the Northwest. 

Now that I have lived in the southern West Bank, a place that is dangerously starved of rain, I have learned to thank the skies for every rain that falls.  As the rain now falls in the foothills, I know that the rain storm has already passed through California's San Joaquin Valley, a valley that has been hailed the 'food basket of the world,' and acknowledged for its great diversity of food production.  A good, steady rain on the plowed fields of the valley will serve to nourish the plants and animals that will in turn serve to nourish the bodies of people worldwide. 

Often the rain in California makes me wish I could bottle the storm, and cast the bottle to the Atlantic Ocean, on a journey to the Mediterranean.  Upon arrival on the Mediterranean shore the storm-filled bottle would be earmarked for the southern West Bank.  As the bottle was opened, stirring the clouds and forming precipitation, the farmers would give thanks to God for the rain which would nourish their wheat fields, fields which depend solely on rainfall.  Shepherds would give thanks, knowing that the rain would bring sprouts of green grass on the hillsides, which would soon be prime food for their sheep and goats. 

But I also see that rainfall has put parts of Australia under water.  Brisbane is being currently described as a war zone.  Last year's floods in Pakistan were devastating, killing thousands and submerging more than 1/5 of Pakistan's total land area. 

The weather patterns of Earth provide sustainability for life, but severe weather systems also have the ability to destroy life, through an abundance or a scarcity of water.  Those of us who live in the mediums, in places rarely experiencing life-threatening quantities of water, should give thanks.  We need to drastically decrease our water consumption, so that water can be routed to places with a scarcity, or can be saved for future generations.  We should reach out to those suffering from storms which threaten lives with our awareness, energies, and monies. We should also listen to the calls for the global north to work to combat global warming.  Why the north? Well, because the north is responsible for the great majority of greenhouse gases. As temperatures soar, glaciers melt, and oceans rise, impoverished people and nations in the global south are placed in peril disproportionate to their contribution to the warming of the planet.

May we give thanks for the rain, which nourishes the earth. And may our thankfulness for the water we do have urge us to adopt sustainable practices which ensure the longetivity of life on earth and may it challenge us to make water available to people everywhere.   


Jaron Latona said...

Hey, this is a great piece of writing. I really enjoy reading your posts. I've always loved the rain, but lately I've also been thinking of it in a more spiritual manner. It was cool to read your thoughts on it.

Samuel Nichols said...

Many thanks, Jaron. I enjoyed writing it. Looking forward to seeing your blog up and running.

TimN said...

I love the video. Beautifully simple and serene and it evokes the quiet loveliness of rainy days.