Finding sunshine in a raindrop

A raindrop falls into my yard. It runs down my driveway until it reaches the gully beside the road. From there it crosses the road in a culvert and flows down a small rivulet to a large pond on the local golf course.

It rests in the pond a while until it is caught up by a watering pump and sprinkled out onto the fairway to nourish the grass. Basking in the sun on the fairway it is soon evaporated up into the air where it eventually becomes part of a large cloud to be eventually rained down again in this continual circular trip.

In its next trip to earth it will surely land some place far away from Collins. It may fall again as rain in Europe, or Australia, who knows. It will eventually reach the ocean by going from creek, to river, to bay, to sea or even falling directly into one of the oceans. There it may find itself overlooked and left to drift for years. I suppose it can get overlooked for a very long time if it falls as a snowflake in Antarctica and gets solidified in an inland glacier somewhere. What ever occurs we may be confident that the raindrop runs a continual route from earth to sky, and back to earth, with brief respites in the ocean. No matter where it goes, it will always end up sooner or later in an ocean.

I can say with certainty that it may take a while, it may take several trips to the sky and back, but sooner or later it will make its way back to the ocean. Because the ocean is the lowest surface on earth, and water always flows down hill. This is just a result of the infallible laws that govern everything.

Human civilization is the same way. We have gains and setbacks, tyranny and freedom, revolution and persecution; but sooner or later, as we develop more and more insights into the way of the world, through our increasing ability to communicate, and be honest with one another, the truth will gradually become more and more complete, and we will end up with a lasting culture that brings to the fore a worldwide intelligent culture of humanity. In that day, those who court dreams of ruling the world will be laughed at as immature juveniles, as they should be today.

Mankind has become very adept at manipulating nature’s laws to his own advantage in building automobiles, airplanes and skyscrapers. We have come to believe so much in our ability to manipulate things that we seem to think we can manipulate anything. Therein lies the rub.

There are also laws that govern the growth and actions of the human mind. We usually don’t like to bother with them. We prefer to go our own way. We have this problem because we cannot always see immediate results when we ignore these laws. It took a long while for us to relate many lung cancers to smoking. We enjoyed smoking. We didn’t wish to recognize the relationship.

Just as the raindrop will always end up sooner or later in the sea, so will we reap the benefits and disasters of careless thinking and living. We have been given rules to live by, but they can sometimes get in the way of what we want. As the good book says, “You do not get figs from thistles.” “You reap what you sow.”

As we careen down the highway of life with a devil-may-care attitude, seeking our satisfactions in dulling, or polluting our senses, more of us may reap the results attained by a friend in my youth. He spent his spare time drowning his sorrows in good times, and releasing his frustrations by starting barroom brawls. He didn’t eventually reach the sea, but did end up drowning not his sorrows, but himself, in his own drunken vomit. Unfortunately, his is not a rare story.

May God bless America.

Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to