I settle under the evergreen tree, it’s dark green canopy overshadowing me like a leafy umbrella.
Sometimes a smattering of rain catches the earth by surprise.
Sometimes the sun, pale yellow in its wintry robe, peeks out from behind a drifting cloud.
The wind is cool, chasing my hair into my eyes, and I pull my jacket closer around my neck. I draw up my jean-clad legs and shuffle my pink-laced shoes as I lean back against the firm trunk, a book balancing on my knees.
I watch a young couple meander through the greenery, each holding the leash of a cheerful Scottie dog. The little black animals are dashing off in every direction, as though desperate to touch every blade of sweet-smelling grass.
A little boy trots past, close on the heels of his mother. He raises his voice, as young children do, telling her seriously and profoundly that the rain has now stopped.
I wonder if she senses his affection for her, his desire for attention returned, hidden within the childlike repetitions.
The clouds shake out another burst of soft rain, and I watch it flutter through the sunlight, transforming into golden droplets. I listen as it falls against the leaves in light applause.
And suddenly, the tears come.
The heavens arch above me, also weeping, yet resplendent in their grey cloak of rain. The skies are wide and billowing with clouds, yet unending, proclaiming the very touch of the Divine.
I whisper the words aloud, and the tears roll down my wind-swept cheeks.
I cry, overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of a God whose sunlight turns rain drops into gold.
Then suddenly, I am aware of another presence beside me.
I turn to see a little boy, leaning against the rough bark beside me, curiously looking at the open book in my hand.
“Hi.” I sniff and attempt a smile, caught off guard.
“Hi.” He says, no doubt unsure about this woman with the pink-streaked hair and tear-streaked face.
I look down at the book in my lap, then hold it up to him. “Can you read?” I ask, hoping it distracts him while I swipe at my nose and eyes. He shakes his head, so I clear my throat and read in a miraculously calm and steady voice.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”
I look up at his little face, then gesture to the rainy/sunny world around us. No further explanation comes to mind.
For the briefest moment, we lean against the tree together and watch the golden rain in silence.
I look back up at him, and he grins and nods, searches my face once more, then scampers off excitedly to his father, a balding middle-aged man who is aghast to realise his son has interrupted a stranger’s solitude.
I watch the little rascal scamper away, then I shake my head, bemused and confused.
And then I laugh.
I laugh and I cry, overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of a God who makes emotional, philosophizing, pink-shoes-and-hair women.
And curious, bold, open-hearted little boys.
And tear drops that turn into gold.