Rain Fell Tonight

Rain fell tonight.
Later, out walking the dogs,
the air was cooled, crisp, and clean.
The full moon reflected from water in the gutter,
causing me to think “Good, enough rain fell to help the lawn.”
But then I thought, “Of what substance is this life I lead?”
Rain for my lawn!
My father’s generation prayed for rain,
rain to save their crops, rain to feed their families.
I hope for rain to save me from water sprinklers!
My father’s generation farmed the land, manned the factories,
grew things, made things…
My wife’s father poured his sweat and soul into the soil
and raised a crop so that his family would eat well.
My father was a railroad man, as was his father before him.
He welded. He riveted. He made wrecked railroad cars whole again.
These men held in their hands the product of their work…with pride.
But I listened to their advice: Farming is too hard, too iffy –
not enough rain, too much rain, deer and insects eat your crop.
Don’t work with your hands – coming in with dirt under your nails,
your overalls salty from sweat, working so hard for so little gain.
Instead get yourself an education. Live by your brain….
Now I speak words before bored medical and graduate students
so that they won’t have to bother reading the material for themselves.
I perform scientific research that may bear fruit two decades hence.
But I long for the satisfaction my father’s generation knew
of holding my accomplishments in my hands to touch, to admire.
I lament we have become a generation of information dispersers,
of service personnel, of passive watchers in place of active doers.
I ache to once in my lifetime know the pure joy that comes
from having prayers of desperation answered with
“Rain fell tonight!”

Harry Edward Gilleland      06.26.02    printer friendly