Drop by Drop

This hopeful holiday is paired with tiny spring blossoms — crocuses, grape hyacinths, glories of the snow — and early morning services in the cemetery beside our house.

Yesterday, at Quechee Gorge in the pouring rain, we stop in at the state park visitor center where there’s no one but us and an elderly man behind the counter who lays his glasses on the newspaper and takes his time talking with us and telling us about the trail. When you go under the bridge, he says, you have to stop and look up. The bridge, when we get there, harbors singing birds — a great steel enormous arch over the spring-wild Ottaquechee River, so far down this rocky channel.

We walk further to the dam, where the water roars. The two younger girls are afraid, holding back from the edge. The rain has stopped, with a few sprinkles of sunlight pushing through the mist. Water: so much water. Rain, river, the profligate clouds, a few drops in our palms from the first maple buds we touch: drop by drop, water cutting through stone.

Awakened, I hear the one true thing —
Black rain on the roof of the Fukakusa Temple.

— Either Dōgen