Bless the rains down in Africa

The rain gets me.

I am a fan of the sun and enjoy perfectly chilly fall day like everyone else, but there is something about rainy days that put me into a reflective mood.

During many rainfalls, I think of the scene from “Say Anything” when Llyod Dobbler is trying to mend his broken heart. As he drives past the invisible statues of their relationship, it rains. “It’s a baptism,” he said. The mark of a new beginning.

Not only do I enjoy the feel and smell of the rain, I love the sound. It’s the song for tea and reading. I even love songs written about rain. “Blue eyes crying in the rain.” Or a simple lyric, “I bless the rains down in Africa.”

In Africa, the rain takes on an entirely new magic.

“We are waiting for the rain to come,” my Ntate said to me one day.

To me, the cotton ball-like clouds seemed far from rain, but I can’t predict Mother Nature the way Basotho do, so I nodded along. Sky could seem calm and clear in the morning, but the Basotho know that the afternoon will bring a nasty storm.

“How do you know that it will rain?” I asked.

“You watch the direction of the clouds, their shape and their color. Why? How do you do it in America?”

“A guy on the television tells it is going to rain.”

Well, OK, that is a bit of poke at Americans. We too can tell if it is going to rain by a mere glance into the sky, but only an hour or so beforehand. The Basotho can predict cloud formations well before they reach dark and ominous.

Rain, in Lesotho, is more than just the time you move indoors. When the heavens open, something magical happens and you experience rain as if it was something foreign, something that doesn’t exist in America. The sound of drops on the ground and thatched huts is quiet, but sweet like a lullaby. The wetness brings a new smell and perception. You feel rejuvenated as if you can handle all of life’s problems now simply because it rained.

I smile at the thought of rain. I want to rain, and not only because I associate this weather with book time, but because I know that the farmers and the hungry villagers need the water for their crops.

The rain is a beautiful, necessary thing and I find myself daily checking the sky, hoping those dark blue clouds will come today.

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