The rain comes slowly.
It meanders down from the clouds in syncopated bursts of rhythm, thankfully in no hurry to water the grassy patch on which I’m huddled.
The leafy tree where I have sheltered branches overhead, its soft green canopy overshadowing me like a rustling umbrella.
Sometimes a smattering of thicker rain catches the earth by surprise.
Sometimes the sun, a dark gold in its twilight descent, peeks out from behind a drifting cloud.
The wind is cool, chasing my hair into my eyes, and I pull my jacket closer around my neck. I draw up my jean-clad legs and shuffle my pink-laced shoes beneath me as I lean back against the firm trunk, a book balancing on my knees.
The people never come slowly.
I watch a young couple striding purposefully through the greenery, each holding the leash of a cheerful Scottie dog. The little black animals are dashing off in every direction, as though desperate to sniff every blade of sweet-smelling grass or to chase every beetle that tries to make its inconspicuous way across the grassy jungle. The walkers continually scold the dogs back to attention, pushing them to stick to the path and to get on with the serious business of raising one’s oxygen intake.
A little girl trots past my idle nook, close on the heels of her brisk mother. She raises her creaky voice, as young children do when they wish to be taken seriously by adults, telling her mother in authoritative profundity that the rain has now stopped.
I wonder if the distracted woman senses the little girl’s affection for her in the warbling verbal signboards. Her childish attempts at gaining a captive audience, her longing for attention to be returned, are hidden within the childlike repetitions.
The tears come suddenly.
One minute I am watching the clouds shake out another burst of soft rain, the moisture fluttering through the sunlight, transforming into golden droplets. The next moment, as I listen to the rain fall against the leaves in light applause, I am suddenly feeling the salty drops fall down my wind-swept face in hushed murmurs.
The heavens arch above me, also weeping, yet resplendent in their grey cloak of rain. The skies are wide and billowing with clouds, far-reaching and unending, and proclaiming the very touch of the Divine.
The words come softly.
I glance down at my book through blurry eyes, whispering the words aloud while the tears continue to roll.
I am lost in wonder. I am shaken in awe. I am overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of a God whose sunlight turns raindrops into gold.
I am awkwardly aware of another presence beside me.
The mood swings abruptly.
I turn, startled, to see a little boy, leaning against the rough bark beside me and openly gazing at my damp cheeks and the open book in my hand.
“Hi.” I sniff and attempt a smile, caught off guard.
“Hi,” he returns, somewhat unsure about this sniffling woman with pink-streaked hair and tear-streaked face.
There is a pause.
“Can you read?” I ask, thrusting the book towards him and hoping it will distract him while I swipe at my nose and eyes. He shakes his head, looking at me a little closer, his eyes a mix of curiosity and concern.
The leafy tree whispers encouragement, and the clouds hover closer to hear my words. I glance around at them all, take a deep and calming breath, give the boy a wobbly smile, and read aloud in a slow, faltering voice:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”
I pause, look up at his curious little face, then gesture feebly to the grey-rain-pink-clouds-golden-sun concoction that swirls in the breeze around us.
No further explanation comes to mind and I quietly close the book, lifting my eyes to once again take in the glory of the beauty that throbs in the sky, while the child breathes quietly beside me.
The rain is falling continually now, catching the glint of the dying sun and sparkling in soft orbs of golden liquid.
For the briefest moment, we lean against the tree together and watch the golden rain in silence.
Shyly, I look up at the boy, wondering if he sees it too. Wondering if the falling drops have been transformed before his curious eyes. Realising from his glowing expression that the weepy drops scattered across my face have now also been touched with gold.
He nods and grins, searches my tear stained face once more, then turns and gallops off across the green, damp walkways of the park.
I watch the little rascal scamper away, then I shake my head, bemused and confused.
The laughter engulfs me unexpectedly.
And suddenly I am laughing aloud. I laugh and I cry, overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of it all. In awe of a God who makes jewels out of rain to stud a grey sky.
Who makes over-emotional, awkward, philosophizing writers.
And curious, bold, open-hearted little boys.
And tear drops that turn into gold.
Emma is an Italian-South African with a New Zealand passport, living in Papua New Guinea. After years of running a puppet ministry and directing student choirs, she currently serves with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Emma's deep joy is in writing, music, playing with her ginger cats and finding God in unexpected places.
Emma McGeorge's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/emma-mcgeorge.html