Listen to the rain

A couple of nights ago I woke up to the sound of rain and I thought of Thomas Merton. Whenever it rains I think of Merton.

I came up here [to his hermitage] 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.–Thomas Merton. “Rain and the Rhinocerous” in Raids on the Unspeakable. New York: New Directions Publishing Co., 1964: 9-10.

About Don Watkins

I'm a FOSS advocate, writer, educator, Python coder, Linux user, US Navy Veteran, Secular Franciscan, husband,father and grandfather. I blog about my life and experiences that give it meaning.
This entry was posted in Thomas Merton and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Listen to the rain

  1. Kathy Moser says:

    I agree with you. Merton is a giant to me in his intimate writings of the awesome connection between us, nature and God.
    I discovered Thomas Merton by accident, picking up one of his books that looked interesting in my local bookstore, and from that point I have been overcome with his beautiful writing.
    I am going to a retreat at Bethany Spring next weekend, and will spend some time at the Abbey where he lived the last years of his life, and plan to visit his grave.
    I would like to get a glimpse of his hermitage, but I will be surprized if the monks allow visitors to get near Merton’s cabin. That is OK, I feel lucky to have access to his writings, so much preserved for us.

  2. fluorophore says:

    Gorgeous! And we’re being poured rain upon today, thick as oatmeal, a rain that wants to be looked at, listened to and not forgotten.

  3. Jeff says:

    Beautiful piece by Merton, Don. I love the sound of rain too, and find it conducive to prayer and contemplation.

    That cozy reading is quite evocative of your little slice of Update New York too, I must say.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.