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October 2018, vol 14 no 3

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Autumn Noelle Hall

The Rainmaker

A terrible drought had plagued the province, and its villagers despaired. When all prayers and offerings failed, they summoned a famous rainmaker from a neighboring province. For three days, as he sat alone in an isolated hut, the villagers wondered and grumbled at the rainmaker’s lack of action. But on the fourth day, rain began to fall in profound abundance. When asked how he’d accomplished this, the rainmaker waved in protest, “It was not I who made the rain.”

“But then what were you doing in that hut for three days?”

“Oh, that I can explain: Where I come from, things are in their proper order. But as this province was in chaos, so I, too, was out-of-order here. It took three days to realign myself with the Tao; but once I’d returned, so could the rain.”

                                                                           – based on a story by C. G. Jung

1. At four years, times $13-a-month for “insurance,” plus the monthly equipment fee, we have paid for my daughter’s phone twice over. But the company still will not make good on our contract and replace the faulty knock-off they underhandedly provided her with a legit and functioning model. After a year-and-a-half plus three additional hours of my life on the phone with “customer service” today, I am done.

record temps
and another month of drought…
my garden
a dwarfed impression
of its former self

On hold again, I’m staring out the window at my thirsty columbine when it occurs to me: I’m holding a viable replacement in my hand – I’ll simply switch the sim card from my daughter’s failing phone to my working original and terminate my line.

advising the rep
of my shocking solution –
lightning strikes
thunder booms, and the wild sky
opens up and pours

2. Less than an hour after handing off my first-and-last smart phone to my daughter, I elect to take the back way home – and promptly get lost. Unfazed, I continue my drive without SatNav or Google Maps or much more than a giddy, vague clue. A meander later, I recognize a road I drove years ago, when my kids and cell phones were both in their toddler stages; so I follow it to a small town’s local health food store, park, and go inside to ask for directions.

a good connection –
a live human being
grabs a pen
and a pad of paper
glad to be of service

“Let’s go outside, so I can show you the way…”

without swiping
or double clicking
she gestures
hands flowing like mountain winds
around hairpins and hills

on patience and empathy
a tiny map
complete with stoplights and lake
appears at her fingertips

“The road will curve down and around. You’ll see this BIG lake. And that’s okay – that’s just where you want to be,” she reassures me. Confirming first that I’ve lived in the mountains for over a decade and am comfortable cruising their crazy passes, she lays out the most scenic route between there and home. We agree we both love maps and backroads and sorely miss the old page-flipping TripTik times.

“Want a good laugh?” I ask. “I just gave up my cellphone today.”

“Oh, GOOD for you – good for YOU! Now if everyone else would just follow your example, we might all be a little less lost!”

3. On the last leg of my journey home, I begin to notice them on the facing sides of the slopes. For mile after winding mile, in full-and-towering celadon flower – 10,000 strong at least. All because of that rain. I realize I would not have witnessed this once-in-a-lifetime display had I followed the technological way.

each Monument plant
lives up to eighty-six years
but blooms
only once before it dies . . .
I can hear you Tao

Note: The epigraph is based on a story from The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, trans by R.F.C. Hull, Princeton University Press, 2d edition, 1976