Feb 082014
Artwork by Eyvind Earle (1916-2000)
Artwork by Eyvind Earle (1916-2000)

Let me say this before rain becomes a utility that they can plan and distribute for money. By “they” I mean the people who cannot understand that rain is a festival, who do not appreciate its gratuity, who think that what has no price has no value, that what cannot be sold is not real, so that the only way to make something actual is to place it on the market. The time will come when they will sell you even your rain. At the moment it is still free, and I am in it. I celebrate its gratuity and its meaninglessness.

The rain I am in is not like the rain of cities. It fills the wood with an immense and confused sound. It covers the flat roof of the cabin and its porch with insistent and controlled rhythms. And I listen, because it reminds me again and again that the whole world runs by rhythms I have not yet learned to recognize, rhythms that are not those of the engineer.

I came up here from the monastery last night, sloshing through the cornfield, said Vespers, and put some oatmeal on the Coleman stove for supper. It boiled over while I was listening to the rain and toasting a piece of bread at the log fire. The night became very dark. The rain surrounded the whole cabin with its enormous virginal myth, a whole world of meaning, of secrecy, of silence, of rumor. Think of it: all that speech pouring down, selling nothing, judging nobody, drenching the thick mulch of dead leaves, soaking the trees, filling the gullies and crannies of the wood with water, washing out the places where men have stripped the hillside! What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone, in the forest, at night, cherished by this wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech, the most comforting speech in the world, the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges, and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!

Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it. It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.

by Thomas Merton, Raids on The Unspeakable

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A writer, artist and tender of dreams, Toko-pa has been interviewed by CNN News & BBC Radio and her writing has appeared in publications around the world. Thanks to Skype, she works with dreamers internationally in her Private Dreamwork practice, based on Salt Spring Island in Canada. You can find Toko-pa on Facebook or sign up for her mailing list to receive news about upcoming events.

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  13 Responses to “Thomas Merton Listens to the Rain”

  1. WOW- this is lovely- thank you!

  2. Thank you, this was delicious, and quenched a thirst I was not yet present to this morning of cinnamon and sunshine! Nourishing words, along with my breakfast. Bless you <3

  3. Tthe illustration reveals the story, rain quenches thirst when the soul is naked enough to receive all it offers.Same as earth. Vulnerable anticipation.ol

  4. Exquisite…thank you

  5. Inspirational. These posts keep me uplifted when sometimes “life” gets heavy. I love them all and thank you

  6. Once I am clear the rain is not leaking thru my roof and flooding my basement, I simply enjoy. Enjoy the feel on my skin, the treatment it provides my hair, the smell, sounds, coolness, and cleaning of it all. The light during a rain is best to see you with, best to sense it all, one moment at a time.

  7. My heart’s ears thank you! Beautifully clearing.

  8. Thank you for this. It’s why i read the mystics- there are more similarities between them and the Druids than differences. Anne

  9. Toko-pa, this is a very beautiful and moving post. It puts words to things I had felt but not quite named. Thank you as always, for your deep sight and feeling.

  10. Wow, that was really lovely. I forget to pay attention to this kind of speech, and it’s a shame, because it’s always so uplifting. It’s easy to get sucked into the market-mind when you have billboards and magazines everywhere telling you to do so; i’m grateful I’m still inclined to look away from it enough to read something like this.

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