By Erica Bonner
It’s only 7 a.m. when I walk out of the building with early education and work line. I look up to see the dark clouds in the distance. They look like soft mountains. The air is warm and fresh with the scent of rain and earth. My favorite.
“Maybe I didn’t need to put on thermals after all,” I think to myself.
On the ramp to the cafeteria we watch in anticipation. Streaks of lightning dance across the sky.
“This is beautiful,” someone says.
We nod and grunt in consent. I feel a droplet of water. Here comes the rain. I thank God for the showers he’s preparing to send. We go in to the cafeteria. I stand in line then sit and eat breakfast with my buddy. We watch from the window; the ocean of the sky pours onto the compound, a bucket of water turned upside-down flowing so continuously it forms a solid wall of precipitation. If it wasn’t for the sound of the thunder and rain, I might believe it was only fog.
I stand to post the Challenge of the Day by the door and feel an icy gust of wind.
“Hmmmm…maybe I did need these thermals”.
I walk to work, hands jammed deep into my pockets, jacket wrapped tightly around me. I slow my pace, because the rain has paused, a knot in the water hose. I hear someone mutter the forecast. I go to work, smiling for whatever reason. My face comprehends this pleasure fully, but if you ask me, I don’t know why. Rain just brings me joy.
After a few hours I leave work, moving from east to west. The rain cuts sideways, so I turn my head to the left as I am drenched from the right. The path guides me to walk straight, so I am pelted head-on by ice. I tuck my head and smile. “How great art thou, God,” I think and am in awe of my makers as I walk under the atrium for protection.
At the end of the atrium I smile even harder. There are 200 yards left until I reach the chapel. As I run down the ramp, around the bend and through the marsh surrounding the church, I am stung with rain coming down so fast and heavy I find it hard to lift my eyes to see where I’m going.
I have the urge to take off my jacket.
I want to feel more.
I feel free.
The rain hits my teeth so I close my mouth. My teeth feel like ice cubes, which makes me smile all the more. As I traverse the marshes, I feel water filling my shoes. I enter the chapel and accidentally water the ladies at the sign-in table.
“Oh, you’re wet,” they say.
“God is great,” I reply.
As I sit on the warm pew my thermals make my legs itch under the saturated pants. I’m grateful for them nonetheless.
I leave the chapel to walk proudly through the mud.
“Oh my God, my shoes.” I hear it all around me. I look down at the white tennis shoes I’m wearing, shrug my shoulders and pass most of them on my way to the cafeteria for lunch. As I leave the dining hall, I look at naked tresses dressed in ice. This is the beauty we are trying to imitate when we shave our bodies and cover ourselves in baby oil to take pictures.
The trees are so beautiful, swaying and drooping from the extra weight in the wind. I giggle goofily in reverence of how vast my God is. Yesterday I played softball in shorts.
I go back to work through a drizzle of contentment. I walk with my co-worker, pointing out the trees, the plants encased in ice, the beauty and peace of it all. As we approach the gate I say, “Look, even the gate is adorned with the cleanness of the rain.” As we walk closer the thick ice around the chain links and razor wire is revealed. Even a fence, God can make beautiful. I smile at the icicles and breathe in heaven. To the right lies a fallen baloney sandwich, ice consuming it like vines on an old house.
I point to the trashcan and say, “Look,” to whoever will listen. There in the trashcan are frozen beads of ice glued to the clear plastic liner, as if time stopped as water rushed to the bottom. Each piece of trash is coated with crystals. There is ice on handrails, salt on the path. The grass is like the floor of an ice castle, sparkly and slick.
The compound is engulfed in peace, all the water is frozen, and even the gutters are quiet. As I walk back to my building I smile at the baloney sandwich, now so encased in ice it looks ready for a museum, as if it should be presented in a display case. No diamond could shine so wonderfully. The sun glitters chaotically off the spectacle and I am filled with hope.