Life in Community

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Life in Community

Song of the Month for October 2018: Rain

October 10, 2018 by

the word rain with plants growing through it

A little over a year ago on this blog I posted a song titled “Smoky Wind,” from a collection of tunes that my son is writing and our family records. We christened the genre Browngrass – if Americans can sing about rural life in their country and call it Bluegrass, then this is the Aussie equivalent. “Smoky Wind” speaks about some of the cycles of life Down Under and the smell of bushfires in the spring. The song was well received, several bluegrass bloggers featured it, and we enjoyed follow-up correspondence from Australia, the U.S., Russia, and Ireland.

Perhaps my favorite part of that song was the bridge. Fiddle, guitar, and mouth organ supported some thoughtful vocals: “Pillar of dust spinning fast, leaves a pattern in the grass. Cross the road then doubling back, like a lifetime’s wayward track.” We often see dust devils around here – Aussies call them willy-willies. I’ve seen how some of nature’s cycles spin faster than others and maybe their patterns give us a glimpse of life’s twists and turns.

Brutal droughts are another cycle of nature in this part of the world – deadly dry times, eventually broken by the gift of rain. Our state, New South Wales, has been extremely dry for the last eighteen months. Rainfall maps show large swaths of the state tracking some of the lowest rainfall and lowest soil moisture readings on record.

Here at Danthonia, the men have had to leave their work several times in recent weeks to fight fires or to help feed the neighbours’ starving sheep. In bad droughts like this there are farmers who will shoot livestock rather than watch their animals starve. Some call helplines, struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide.

Australian truck on a dirt road
photograph taken at Danthonia

Hard as this drought has been, it’s also been a time where people are reaching out to each other, offering donations and encouragement in any way they can think of. The other day someone left an anonymous donation of fifty dollars in our roadside mailbox. The envelope included a lovingly handwritten note insisting that the lady of the house should spend it on herself, to take a trip to the hair dresser! We smiled (the lady of the house didn’t take it personally) and decided to pass that gift on to a neighbor – but it made my eyes water to think of the love behind it.

In that spirit of caring we would like to dedicate this next Browngrass song to those who are doing it tough.

This new song, titled “Rain,” is about answered prayers. “Rain has the power. . . He has the power. . . to make life’s deserts bloom.”

We all have patches of life when it feels like we are travelling through a desert. Sickness, anxiety, the death of a loved one. We all need the rain of an answered prayer. May that rain come soon – to each one in the way that he needs it the most.

Listen on SoundCloud.

RAIN
Sometimes life is like a train
Across the dry and desert plain
Red dust blowing all around
Nothing growing from the ground
All it needs is a little rain
To make it bloom again, to make it bloom again
Rain has the power
To make dry plains bloom with flowers
Make them bloom with flowers
Sometimes life is filled with sorrow
You can’t think about tomorrow
Sadness rises like a tide
Grips your heart from deep inside
All our time on earth is borrowed
So you pray again, and you pray again
He is your guide
Always walking by your side
Always by your side
Sometimes life is like a song
That nearly sings itself along
Everything how it should be
Your heart is filled with ecstasy
Thank the Lord the sorrow’s gone
And all is good again, all is good again
He has the power
To make life’s deserts bloom with flowers
To make them bloom with flowers

Listen to more Songs of the Month here.

Joe McKernan lives with his wife, Nancy, at Danthonia, a Bruderhof in NSW, Australia.

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