Does this mean that our drought might really be ending? We will need a lot of rain to make up for the 10 inches of non-rainfall over the past couple of months.

Rain is lucky. It is seminal. It makes things grow. Dormant seeds and new seeds take power from falling rain. We have been without rain for nearly two months, the longest drought I can remember in the 37 years I have lived in New England. The year Kaity graduated high school, we had no rain for the entire month of May, but after that, the skies opened and, as the song says, “The wind blew and the rain fell.”

A nuthatch and a tufted titmouse

Yesterday, with no rain expected at all — the weather forecasts being essentially “best guesses” by even our best and most accurate meteorologists — it began raining lightly in the afternoon. That little rain came and went quickly, but as I was putting myself to bed last night, suddenly, I heard that rushing in the leaves. I jostled Garry. “It’s raining,” I told him. I’m not sure he was able to track from whatever Western he was watching to a rainfall during a drought, but when I woke this morning, the woods were gleaming with wet leaves. The frenzied attack of the birds on the feeders had slowed to something resembling normal.

My  mother used to sing this song which I am sure she learned in grade school. I think the original concept might have come from the verse Matthew 7:25, but it was a popular song for school children. Written in 1899, I managed to find a used copy of the book (presumably including music) and with luck, someday it will be delivered. This is the section which has always stuck in my memory:

A small piece of a child’s song to an oak tree circa 1899.

Maybe this song is why my mother so treasured oak trees. She adored the trees and would never let one die. She would take each of the babies born from acorns and carefully move it to a safe part of our woods. Or maybe it was growing up in lower Manhattan and never seeing trees or grass, but one way or the other, she loved them dearly.

Isn’t it strange how little pieces of songs remain in our memory forever it seems? The last time I heard this sung was probably more than 60 years ago. I ordered the only hardcover copy of it I could find — at any price — from ABE, the major seller of almost forgotten books from way back when. I have no idea what condition it is in. It’s listed as “good” which can mean anything from tattered to nearly new.

Nuthatch and Tufted Titmouse

There is also a reproduced version available from Amazon done with photographs reproducing each page. Unlike the actual book, it is listed as “anonymous,” but it wasn’t anonymous and the book I’m getting has both an author/songwriter and illustrator’s title on it. Certainly if I could uncover this information in a 15-minute Google search, Amazon should have been able to do the same. However, they are to be applauded for salvaging the book at all. It is considered a book with historic meaning. I’m just happy to be able to get a copy of it. Of course no one but me will be the least bit interested in it.

Owen and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what will happen to our collections when we pass. Our kids have zero interest in them. They might develop some interest as they get older, but I don’t know when or if that will happen … so I hope someone will take charge of our “stuff” and make sure it doesn’t get tossed in a dumpster somewhere.

Categories: #Birds, #Photography, Anecdote, Autumn, poem, Wildlife

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9 replies

  1. Wonderful–rain and special memories to savor and share. I think it’s the same with most of us, we have so many precious things and memories, but the younger generation is not interested in the past. I only wish that I was more interested and took time to get more first hand accounts from my parents and grandmothers. I’m trying to keep what I have together with notes for them so that some day, they’ll understand.


    • Our kids are just utterly uninterested. My guess is that some day they will be interested, but by then. we’ll be gone. I wish I’d asked more questions when i could. I’ll always feel bad about that.


  2. I hope for you that your Abe experience will be a better one than the ones i had. I have several books (rare ones like yours) I only could get from them and w/o exception, they were in a terrible state. But I also know about loving a particular book, or edition, and nothing else will do – so let’s hope for the best.
    I also know about our shared love for books. I was (and still am) heartbroken that HH brought some 400 books to be burned at the local incinerator. All English books which nobody was interested in France. And i couldn’t bring them to Switzerland as we now only rent a flat and have absolutely no space at all for all my written darlings….


    • I gave as many books away as I could until the library ran out of room, the high school library was full, and the senior center gave up too. We do have crates at the grocery store where people put books for free and others take them out … but the language barrier is definitely an issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, so the rain dance worked then! 🙂


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