Welcome to my Flash Fiction Friday where I post some of my little flash fiction pieces. Thanks for stopping by.
Comfort in the Rain
“I find comfort in the rain.” The words fell from her lips softly, more than a whisper, less than a prayer. She knelt beside a small fire with a stew pot suspended over the flames as we huddled nearby wrapped in our thermal blankets, half frozen. She was our salvation. This tiny old woman had rescued us.
“Head out West” they said “hike the grand old Pioneer Trail” they said. “You’ll have a wonderful adventure.” they said. Right! Like the ambitious fools we are, we made a quick trip to Cabelas, outfitted ourselves with the best backpacking equipment and provisions money could buy. Then hopped on a plane and headed out on a seven day trek, determined to wash the city slicker from our hides and prove how powerful and resourceful we could be.
Three days in, the rain had started. It had sprinkled lightly for a bit and we smiled and laughed at how the desert would love the extra moisture. A few hours later it turned into a punishing, tent-bashing, brute of a storm. Our tent collapsed, our supplies were drenched and we were stumbling along by flashlight, seeking any shelter we could find and finding none.
That’s when she found us. Stepping lightly through the downpour, wearing a slicker and Wellington boots, she appeared like a specter from out of the dark. She handed us a waterproof tarp to shield us from the worst of the deluge. She helped us gather up all of our ruined supplies and led us back to her shelter. Her VW camper van was parked on a patch of rock, safe from the surrounding mud. She had utilized the shelter of a rock overhang to build her small cook fire and set out a couple of folding plastic camp stools.
She called herself Telana, the Crone. She had been camping this way for many years, finding freedom off the grid. Telana requested use of our soaked supplies to make us all something to eat. Having not eaten since breakfast, we heartily agreed. She went about adding water, broths, and spices to our dehydrated meals and the smells issuing from the stew pot were enticing.
When I had complained about the rain and how we’d been caught unawares, she had just smiled and softly spoken of the peace and beauty of the rain. I listened to the splot splot splot of the falling wetness while she spoke of the music of the rain, the rhythm, the tempo. Telana compared the rain fall to a master symphony, the ecstasy of the desert captured in the music of the rain.
Later that night, I lay awake where we bedded down inside her tiny camper van, safe, dry and warm. The meal had been sumptuous and our compliments had earned us a smile and more words of wisdom “hunger is the best sauce.” She spoke softly as if years of quiet solitude had made loudness unbearable, you were forced to really listen if you wanted to hear. The peace of her heart was palpable through that softness of voice.
I lay and listened to the rain, the tempo varied and strange. Tomorrow she would drive us back to civilization. There we would call our family and friends, let them know we were OK; contact our tour coordinator and get a ride back to our cabin to finish out our vacation. I would never see the Crone again, but I knew her lesson would stay with me. Each time I hear the rhythm of the rain, I will remember to listen for the melody “I find comfort in the rain.”