Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Living Moment

It rained lightly at first - much like today.

I glanced out the kitchen window as the front lawn assumed a brilliant green and the driveway turned gray. Wiping the kitchen table clean from lunch, I mused over the graceful entrance of this storm. It was summer and the steady sound of water on tin was gentle, welcome. Just what this patch of desert-earth needed.

Suddenly, the sound changed from a steady prattle to a clattering, banging rage. The gutters began to spew, the ground began to swell, and just like that, everything outside was spilling over with water.

Rain drummed the house in a relentless rhythm. The sight of it blurring the air was too incredible to stay inside, so I gathered all of my children onto the front porch to listen.


The girls stayed by me no more than a minute. Soon, each had an umbrella in hand and they ventured into the downpour. They wanted to gauge its intensity, feel the rain pummel their canopy, soak their slippered feet.


How could I stop them?


I couldn't.

Children don't live in the past or future. They only know now. And there's a lot to be said for knowing now.


The girls were soaked in minutes. Eliza ran inside to change her clothes and put on a jacket. Then they stepped into the sheeting rain again.

Their first few trips were timid in comparison to what would come. Slightly inhibited, they kept their umbrellas open, their fists closed tightly around the handles, their shoes still on as they twirled in the puddles.

Then they began to loosen. Shoes became cumbersome and their clothes began to drip heavy. So they shook off their flip-flops and abandoned their umbrellas.

Who needs an umbrella when you're already wet?


The street gutters turned into rivers. Curls stuck to their chins. Their bodies moved at the pace of the sky.

It was pure elation for them to scuttle through this newfound stream, splat water with every step, splash and laugh until they had to stop and catch their breath.


Umbrellas were turned upside-down and placed at the top of the hill so the current would float them like boats towards the storm drain.


Even the boys couldn't be held back.


They were first to find the big mud puddle.

We had fifteen minutes of hard, pounding rain, and then it stopped. The neighbor kids came out to join us. Run-off was still funneling down their side of the street so we crossed the road and took up splashing in front of their house.


I am in love with little Luke, his yellow galoshes and princess umbrella.


He is Spencer and Gordon's favorite buddy.


Sami, of course, found the mud too. That girl loves to get dirty, dig in the dirt, and squish mud whenever she can.


Although it obviously wasn't deep enough to swim in, Eliza thought it would be fun to try. So they made a human train, laid down on their tummies right there in the gutter, and flutter-kicked.


Around the time the boys got brave enough to join us, I noticed our cute neighbors sitting on their porch watching us. Marilyn and Jay. Their children are gone. They grow beautiful gardens now instead of little kids. They let my girls swing on their swing set, pick their tomatoes, traipse through their backyard whenever they wish. And I love them.

Later that afternoon, as I was peeling wet clothes from little bodies, I received this text from Marilyn.

"Your kids will never forget today. And neither will we."

During those minutes, with a small camera in hand, pants soaked straight through, and laughter escaping my lips every few seconds, I felt completely alive.

The living moment is the most breathing, captivating, fleeting thing. It is magic. Emerson said we are always getting ready to live, but never living. Is he right?

Too often I choose blinders without thinking and like the work-horse, I am bent to the plow, the laundry basket, the floor, the sink. Sometimes I am too bent on getting us ready to live that I brush right past the living.

D. H. Lawrence said, "The living moment is everything."

So glad I didn't miss this one.


  1. This is great. I can almost smell that rain, refreshing and cool. Your neighbors were right. Wish I could learn more to be like this too.

  2. I love the knee deep in the mud picture of your little guy. OH boy! How fun!

  3. Being outside in the rain without shoes is a wonderful feeling! And I love it, when it rains like that. I also love it, when it just stopped raining -- there is such a wonderful smell in the air, and somehow all is much quiter than usual. I remember some wonderful afternoons, too, when my oldest ones played outside in the puddles after a rain storm -- so much fun!

    I'm sure your neighbors are right and your children will not forget this afternoon, or at least the feeling of it.

    And I like what you write about living in the now and relishing all these wonderful moments...

    (I still live on the moment when I scored a point against the best fencer in our fencing club two days ago. Okay, I lost big time, but that one point still makes me smile, ;-)).

    So long,

  4. "Sometimes I am too bent on getting us ready to live that I brush right past the living"

    i am so relating to that right now!

    this is beautiful Catherine. I want to feel alive more.

    I have some very similar pictures from a rain storm this summer that have been in my blog drafts for months. maybe i'll post them and then just link to your blog since you put it all so well. you put into words my thoughts that day.

    love you.

  5. Wow, Catherine. You are quite a storyteller. You can weave words together so beautifully.

    "The living moment". I love that phrase. So glad you captured that time with words and pictures. Pure magic.

    Children are truly a gift. Their ability to live in the moment and savor something is like nothing else. I have thought that this ability could very well be one more reason Christ asks us to be like a little child.

    Love you.

  6. I love storms and so do my kids. My boys make tin foil boats and race them down the gutter. Your photos are priceless. I remember playing in the rain a few years ago and a few weeks later my older neighbor brought over some photographs she had taken of our antics-- I love those photos.

  7. oh.....that's why I feel grouchy today! I'm getting ready to live and never living. I've been in work hores mode too much. Thank you for this post :)

  8. their faces tell it this. xox

  9. Life is the fullness of the moment and to draw it out and fill it with color and activity is how we should view and take life, as it comes. What a gift to capture the rapture of the moment in both word and picture! Memories are crafted of magic like this. Keep up the work and the wonder. It fills us with love.

  10. Shir - aren't we all children in a way? Wanting to live like them? Learning like them? I love you and hope you have answers soon. You remain in our prayers!

    Sarah - what would rain be without mud? Oh boy is right!

    Corinna - sounds like that one point was no small thing. ;) BTW, you fence? Wow. Your kids have a real mama to protect them!

    Saydi - can't wait to see your pictures. I know your kids love rain like this. It's such a thrill. Love you and miss you.

    Anne Marie - I agree! This is just one of the many attributes that Christ longs for us to develop. Meekness, submissiveness, charity of course. But joy is part of the journey too! Thanks for your words. Love to you this week.

    M-heart - What a sweet gesture - for your neighbor to bring over photos. I can just see your kids making foil boats. A must-try next time! xoxo

    Samsel - I guess the work horse has to get his job done eventually. It can't be avoided, but it can be set aside now and then. I think you're amazing. Love you.

    Cristie - they do, don't they? Loved seeing you yesterday. Wish it had been longer.

    Dad - your words are so beautiful. "Memories are crafted of magic like this." They fill me with love for you. And gratitude that you have taught me how to catch wonder like this, live it full. I love you. Hugs to Mom too! xo

  11. Love your words. In those first photos I can just spot the tension as they hold their bodies perfectly straight under their umbrellas, positioned perfectly above their heads. And then minutes later, all insecurity behind them, their bodies are laying prone in the gutter! Awesome!

    And I am just a little reminded of Genesis 2. You know the verse that talks about how the mist came up and gave Eden its first good rain? How exilirating would that have been to be a part of that first rain?

  12. LOVE...the photos, those kids, the rain, you!

  13. Cath, I loved this post! The other night James and I went for a walk in the rain. It wasn't quite the downpour you guys had, but we enjoyed the smells and sounds of the gentle rain and I was glad that we didn't run for the hills when the rain began and just enjoyed holding hands on our wet walk. I love your ability to enjoy the moment with your kids because we know how quickly they are going to grow up! Love you!

  14. I love the picture of your girls playing in the rain with no umbrellas. It reminds me of when Rachel and I would do the same thing. At that age, you didn't care about getting wet or dirty, it was all about the fun!

  15. Sorry I'm late to this post, but I had to comment. Your neighbour's text got me, she's right, too often we are caught up with the must nots and forget to breathe and live in the moment. Glad you stopped and enjoyed it.

  16. Gorgeous post Cath! It reminded me about that mormon messages video, with the kids playing in the rain. You got to live it in real life. How fantastic!

    All the photos are great! You really captured the moment beautifully.

    What fun!


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