Healing Rain

My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.  ~Robert Frost


This garden season, week after week brought no relief as I wished for rain.  Around here we are usually gray more than sunny with weekly rain or snow bringing spring and fall flooding.  We wish for warm sunny days, but this year the wish was much different.  And I have to say after months of scorching heat and bone dry weather, I will never complain about rain and gray skies again (OK I’ll try not to).

Throughout the brutal summer I often thought of rain, what I missed about it and why it as important to me as it was to my garden.  Why I love to garden in rain, walk in rain and listen to it drum on the roof?  Did you know rain has a scent?  It does to me and when I smell rain, I am at once calm, serene and peaceful.  So what is it about the rain that I long for, live for?

I believe it is the healing properties of rain that draw me in.  I witnessed it in my garden when we had the occasional shower that barely wet the cracked soil in summer.  Even that tenth of an inch would temporarily perk up the plants, and would give me hope of relief.  But it wasn’t until the fall rains began that the garden finally healed.  We were back to our weekly, almost daily, showers.  They would come sometimes fierce with wind and soak the earth, and pass through as quickly as they had come.  Then the sun would shine against the dark gray skies and the entire garden would sparkle, as if it was smiling, joyous.

There is a difference between a spring rain and an autumn rain.  I feel an immediate strength from a rain that comes in springtime.  As the garden thaws and wakens, it is nourished and able to grow with the rains that softly arrive.  Of course the violent storms with thunder and lightning are fearsome, but they beckon me like the roller coaster that I fear, but still must ride.  A fear to overcome and an adventure not to be missed.  I ride the storm and marvel at its power and the renewal it brings.

With fall rains, I feel a melancholy with the rain, a sorrow as if I am grieving.  The garden is waning and saying goodbye, and I am having to accept its final farewell.

Rain in fall seems to call on my soul to look within and come to grips with what is bothering me, what issues I have yet to face.  Those I have bravely smiled through and never talked about.  But they are still there lurking beneath the soil waiting for when all facades are stripped away, and I am faced with myself.  No hiding.  I must deal with it.  In these times the rain calls me as if weeping allowing me to cry in solitude and heal those inner tortures.


Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong  ~ Lao-Tzu

And yet I still feel the freshness of the rain, I gain strength finally from it as it washes away my troubles.  And maybe that is why I have always been drawn to water because it replenishes my body, mind and soul with its energy, its healing.  I am renewed by water as my body is enveloped in it, soaking into every pore.  It cleanses my soul this gift of rain.  It reconnects me with Mother Earth.

Rain is as important to us as it is to the earth as it washes away all the imperfections, absolving us all.  And even as I write this, a powerful storm is bearing down on the east coast of the United States.  It has its bulls eye aimed right at us here in central NY.  We do not know how much damage this storm will leave behind with its gale force winds and flooding rains.  But I know as surely as there will be a storm, once it has passed we will heal, we will go on as life always does.  We are one with this world and try as we may to escape the pain it may bring, we will not be able to always dodge it.  It will come with its teeming rains and wash away the impurities while laying waste as nature does.

So I accept the healing powers of rain; all of them as I weep in joy and sorrow knowing it will nourish my soul once again.


Rain fall down release my pain

Your healing touch, my heartache drains.

Out flows the gray, as warm winds blow

Dry my tears with sunlight of gold.

Donna Donabella


Next   up on the blog:    Next Monday it will be time for another Gardens Eye Journal to look back at October in the garden.  And as I look ahead in November, anything be left blooming?  I will have a wonderful gardening book to share, and another wildflower lined up at the end of the month.  I hope you can join me as fall turns colder and wilder.

I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month , at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. The latest post is up now about the snakes returning to the garden.  My next post will be on the 13th.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2012.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.


  1. Flâneur Gardener says:

    I do love rain, but tomorrow I’ll be painting the annex, so I rather hope it will stay dry… Otherwise I might have a stretch of ox-blood red lawn lining the rear side of the annex…

  2. Alberto says:

    Hi Donna! I feel the same relief when it rains in my garden and it’s nice to read that you had the ability of putting into words my feelings along with yours.
    I loved the picture with the golden leaved poplar (?)

    • Donna says:

      It means a lot to know others feel the same as I do…the golden tree is actually a swamp maple in its waning days. The setting sunlight caught the leaves just right and made for a stunning picture. I was glad I was looking out the window when it occured.

  3. Cathy says:

    Hi Donna, Hope the coming rain will not be too purging. I sympathise with you feeling sad right now, and your words really spoke to me today; very moving, and you are right… storms will pass and we will go on. Thanks Donna.

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Donna,

    I understand how you feel; only this year I can’t agree with feeling the relief of rain arriving, but last year I certainly could when we went months with very little rain.

    Rain has a smell?? Of course it does! I love the smell of rain in the summer, as it hits the hot earth/pavements and roads. The smell of tarmac (which I assume you won’t experience over there as you use cement…) but it does bring back fond memories as a child playing out in it. Rain at my grandparents also always produced a strong scent from their large weeping willow… a scent I never experienced in our own garden.

    Fond memories 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Wonderful memories Liz and I understand when rain can be too much. Growing up it was rain hitting hot cement and it does have a scent, but since living in NY we have tarmac. Too cold for all that cement here.

  5. The Sage Butterfly says:

    I smell the scent of rain, too, as I walk around the garden during a rainstorm. It cleanses and nourishes and beautifies. I have always loved rainy days because they are so refreshing.

    This was written so beautifully, Donna. I hope you will be well during this storm. We have made all the preparations we can, and now we wait. Take care…

  6. Helen/patientgardener says:

    I love the smell of the garden after rain when it has been dry for a while. You are right spring rain is very different to autumn rain. Spring rain is fresh, invigorating, life bringing but the smell of damp leaves and decay you get in the Autumn is quite different, very earthy. I too love rain

    • Donna says:

      So great to hear from a fellow rain lover Helen. I have yet to be able to really describe that autumn rain, but you are correct that it is the smell of decay that brings on those thoughts of the garden dying for me.

  7. tina@inthegarden says:

    Gosh I look at rain anytime as a great thing but too much and too much too soon can be destructive so I sometimes have to back off from my desire for it. In the fall try to think of the rain as helping those bulbs grow (they have already starting putting out roots for a spring bloom) and the newly planted seeds and plants to get settled in. We are dry here and we need some rain soon. I think you all will be getting some and I hope the storm is not so bad.

    • Donna says:

      Great perspective Tina as I love planting in or near the time it will rain just for the reason you said here. It is essential for our gardens. We got very little from the storm which was a surprise. Hoping you receive some of that wonderful rain soon.

    • Donna says:

      Wonderful Diana. I learned something new here. The smell is like an earthy perfume and I agree it is the life blood of the earth. We were lucky with the storm, but it seems another storm is headed here later in the week. Oh well we shall see.

  8. HolleyGarden says:

    Donna – Such beautiful words! I loved how you searched inside for the feelings deep within you to explain how the different rains affect you. I felt myself nodding in agreement. I hope the rains (and wind) that Sandy brings causes no damage to you or your garden. Take care.

    • Donna says:

      Thank you Holley for these wonderful words of praise. I love to hear when my thoughts ring true for others. The storm was mostly wind and the garden did not suffer at all.

  9. Randy Hyden says:

    It really shocks me to see drought stories in New York. That is something we fear here on a regular basis. Last year was HELL , worst on record, before that was the nightmare of `80. I thought we would never top that, but we did. Thank Goodness it rained for you !

  10. PlantPostings says:

    We’re thinking about you, Donna. Stay safe and warm. I have the same reaction as you do to the spring rain, but in autumn I usually have a similar reaction as I do in the spring. Rain smells wonderful! Dying plants in any season, on the other hand, are depressing. But I hope the excess rain and winds from the hurricane aren’t too tough on you all. Take care!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Beth for all the good wishes. It worked as we did not get the brunt of the storm. Decay in the garden is inevitable but oh so hard to accept…I look forward to the smell of spring already.

  11. Christina says:

    This year after the dreadful drought I felt the relief you describe so well when a couple of dull days arrived, followed by refreshing, wonderful rain. I’m glad you’re enjoying this time of year. Christina

    • Donna says:

      I knew you would know the healing powers of rain after dealing with your horrible drought Christina. It has turned very cold so I am now warm and snug indoors.

  12. Eileen says:

    Lovely words and post. The drought is awful and I heard so many horror stories. I hope you are safe from the Storm Sandy! It is still raining here in Maryland and I happy our electric is on. Have a great day!

  13. Alistair says:

    I don’t know what it is Donna but more of us than usual seem to have that feeling of melancholy which comes with the end of the gardening season. At this very moment I am hearing the news of all that is going on in New York, I will be pleased to hear that you and your family are well. Alistair

    • Donna says:

      Alistair we were too far North to be hit badly by the storm. We were lucky with just a bit of rain but lots of wind that did no damage.

      I think we live so much of our lives through our gardens we just miss it terribly when it isn’t there for months. This I think leads to all the melancholy. Cold and gray here right now.

  14. Karen says:

    Heartfelt sentiments beautifully expressed. And a quote from Robert Frost to boot! Who could ask for more? Hope you and your family are safe and doing fine.

  15. Lucy Corrander says:

    Autumn rain energizes me – as does everything about autumn. I like the smell of autumn rain best too.

    This is a brave post, though, as you prepare for the storm. I hope, by the time you are reading this, the worst has passed and that you are ok.

    • Donna says:

      The worst never really came for us as we live in Central NY but downstate is still in ruins. Very sad. Autumn is a time to start the renewal process as we turn inward and rest until spring. Glad you are enjoying autumn.

  16. b-a-g says:

    I often go for a walk in the rain when I’m sad – your words express exactly how I feel.

    You and Donna GWGT are the only two people I know in New York. My thoughts are with you.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks B-A-G as the storm was not bad where I am in NY. I find the rain helps me purge through my sadness and clear it away for a while. Glad that the post meant something to you.

  17. Andrea says:

    If only I am a good writer, i will be writing just like what you said. I related with it so well, even if we have very different conditions. But that is what i really feel when the first rains come after our dry season. And unlike most people who get sad when it’s raining, i feel the opposite, i rejoice inside, and anticipate growth and hope. Your title is so apt, even if we only get rains when there are typhoons. I sometimes wonder why i behave that way with the rain, does it have relevance to the time i was born? It was raining when i first saw light! Glad you are not affected much by Sandy!

    • Donna says:

      Andrea I bet it does have something to do with when you were born, but also your tuning into nature and realizing how important rain is to our earth. Thank you for your kind words!

  18. RamblingWoods says:

    Yes after this summer I promised not to complain about the rain again, but after this week where it is nothing but rain..well…You bring to life so very well the feelings that you get and then we can see if they relate to our feelings.. wonderful talent….wonderful post for Nature Notes…Michelle

  19. Janet, The Queen of Seaford says:

    I enjoy the rain, though the terrible storms are not good. We only got some wind out of it, think one of the few places east of the Mississippi that had no precipitation out of it. It has been since the first of October that we have had rain… kind of crispy here.

  20. laura@eljaygee says:

    Donna – am sure your writing is growing in depth with all this rain. I like the sad misty days of soft Autumn rain but the everyday downpour is tiresome except for ducks and plants. Loved the Robert Frost quote too 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Frost is brilliant and my favorite poet. I agree Laura with the constant downpours. We have the cold gray days but the rain is still intermittent and more misty than a downpour. Thank you for your lovely comment Laura.

  21. Gail says:

    Donna, What a beautiful love song! I made the same promise about rain this summer. Everyday I scanned the sky for any sign of rain! Our summers are dry, but, they seem to be getting dryer and it’s stretching into fall and winter. Glad you are doing well and the garden is healing.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Gail. While the rain is frequent we are not getting the amounts we once did and are still not caught up. I wonder what winter will bring.

  22. debsgarden says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words and photos. I love the smell of rain on a warm day. Cold rain sends chills to my bones. We haven’t had rain in a couple weeks here but hope to get some this weekend. I hope you are safe and warm after hurricane Sandy.

    • Donna says:

      We are a bit cold and wet here since Sandy but no damage…we are getting that bone chilling rain now waiting for the rain to change to snow. Wishing you much needed rain.

  23. Stacy says:

    Donna, what a lovely post, with that poignant autumn combination of melancholy and cleansing. I hope Sandy treated you kindly and that you and your garden are emerging from the storm unscathed—or at least with your eyes on the healing afterward.

  24. Heather says:

    Wonderful post. Rain does give a sense of relief and hope. I’m so glad you got some fall rains. I empathize with plants too much I’m afraid, when they’re stressed, I’m stressed. We’re still in a drought, and it makes me very concerned for the long term landscape.

    • Donna says:

      Heather I am assuming your awful drought is not a usual occurrence like ours. I am so sorry it has not broken yet. Unfortunately it will break perhaps with winter but the plants will be so stressed. I wish you the healing rains you so badly need.

  25. bumblelush says:

    I love rain (as long as it’s not the scary, destructive kind). I also find it to be cleansing, both figuratively and literally. Your post is beautifully written, and especially meaningful following the recent storm along the east coast.

    • Donna says:

      I agree when the weather is scary it is hard to think of it as refreshing although the time after a storm can be so. Glad to hear you were spared the destruction.

  26. Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens says:

    I hope that you have weathered the storm well. We were in Maine where relatively little damage occurred. Lots of trees down in PA but thankfully no more here except a small cherry tree. I feel so sad for the flooded out residents of NY and NJ.

  27. igardendaily says:

    Hi Donna,
    Yes, I always smell the rain and it is one of my favorite scents. Here in the semi high desert, rain is a treat and the scent and sounds are especially strong (to me) because it is a novelty. After a terribly hot summer we have had quite a bit of rain and it has been a delight so I can really relate. As you may suspect, rain here never makes me sad but Fall does. It is the most beautiful time of year in this area and the weather is perfect making it so bittersweet because everyone know right after the peak of perfection a gray winter will follow. No matter, how hard I try, I am always a little down in Winter. Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    • Donna says:

      You have a unique climate so different than mine and I love reading about the beauty around you in the garden. I am with you with regarding rain, but while I like parts of winter it is too long and makes me sad. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  28. Grace says:

    Beautifully written, Donna! It’s so true isn’t it? Typically we have a three-month dry period here in Oregon and when the rains return, it’s a relief but also a sad reminder of seasonal changes. The garden is on the wane. Death and decay is imminent. But the scent of rain makes me feel rejuvenated.

    I hope you didn’t suffer too much damage with Sandy. Take care my friend. Thank you for your encouragement. It means the world to me.

    • Donna says:

      I know so little about your climate and it is fascinating. We did not have any damage from Sandy. But the little rain was refreshing since the temp was warmer…now it is cold and raw out.

      I find your writing so amazing Grace…I am living vicariously through you as you become published…makes me hopeful that I will find a publisher one day my friend!

  29. ronnie@hurtledto60 says:

    So you had our summer warmth then. Its been very wet here for what seems like weeks interspersed with the occasional sunny day. I do love the rain though and I find gardening in ‘gentle’ rain is theraputic. You have written a lovely post.

  30. Beth says:

    So glad I found your blog today. Your posts do a wonderful job expressing that gardening is not only about digging around in the dirt, it is a time/place to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.

Comments are closed.