*Most of the details are based on Basque (Euskadi/Euskal Herria) and its language (Euskara).
‘Do you know the meaning of your name Euri?’ the wise old man asked a lively young girl.
‘No Grandpa, what does it mean?’
‘It means Rain, girl. Your dear Amona (grandmother) particularly chose that name for you because you were born during a cloudburst. Of course, it always seems to rain back in Vasconia. Oh how I miss my dear Euskal Herria. ’
‘Grandpa, I am confused. I have never heard of rain. What is cloudburst Grandpa?’
‘Oh my blurry memory, I forgot that you were not old enough to remember your time in Basque. ’
The wise old man was Euri Elixabetes’ Grandfather; a man who always wore a txapela(beret), smoked a pipe and loved his homeland with all his heart. He told his dreamy little granddaughter all about his time in Basque and stories of his youthfulness in that beautiful place. He kept nothing from her, nothing at all. He told her about the perfectly mild and comfortable climate of Basque, never too hot, never too cold.
He described to her the sceneries of Basque Land as she dreamily wondered how it would feel to climb the lush green hills and valleys, drink water that melted down from the ice capped mountain and run along the immaculate coastlines. He told her about the perpetual rainfall in Basque.
‘I have never thought that I would come to love rain as much as I hated it back when we were in Basque’ he said ‘I would have never sought independence if I knew that it would get your amak(mother) killed and us imprisoned. But what else could I do? They took from us our freedom, our cultures and tradition but mainly, our tongue!’
Ever since Euri and her grandfather were taken prisoner by the French government they have not seen rain or freedom. But little did she know that she will come to experience both freedom and rain at the same time but for a great price. Euri always fantasized about rain. She thought it was a blessing from the God, something magical with a its own healing power and it fell from the sky.
‘It soothed me, cooled me down when I felt hot with anger, washed away my depressions and sadness’ Her grandpa often told her.
She never realized that rain was simply water.
Living in a congested old cellar with many other strange prisoner made her life miserably uncomfortable. The place was humid and it reeked of filth. There was a scarcity of water so no one used it for bathing or cleaning themselves but strictly for drinking only. The food was dry and tasteless. However, she was used to it because she spent most of her life growing up in that cellar. ‘Maybe that’s the way life is’ She thought.
They never saw sunlight. Sometimes they could hear loud rumbling of thunder and then her grandpa would tell her that ‘Its raining’.
One stormy night when it was raining so heavily that the sound of rain drops hitting the roof penetrated through several folds of wall and even reached Euri’s ears. They were all trying to fall asleep quietly when suddenly there was a loud bang at the end of the tunnel of the cellar. There was another loud bang and the cast iron door of the tunnel blew open. A prisoner’s silhouette gesticulated a ‘follow me’ sign and screamed ‘RUN’ and he himself ran away. The prisoners of the cellar were shocked but they gathered their senses soon enough to make a run for freedom. Grandpa took Euri by the hand and started running towards the door when suddenly a soldiers appeared with a Kalashnikov and began open firing at the prisoners. Instinctively, grandpa embraced Euri’s little body to protect her from the bullets. Some of the prisoners gave up their life to overwhelm the soldier in front of them which made the tunnel free to escape through again. But unfortunately, Grandpa was shot. For the first time Euri experienced a tragedy, a loss of the only person she knew she could call ‘family’.
With his dying breath Grandpa pushed Euri away. ‘Run my dear child….RUN!’ he gasped and fell dead. Euri was heart broken but she had to run for her life. There was no time to mourn her grandpa’s death. She saw many dead bodies lying here and there as she followed the tunnels upstairs. She ran and she ran until she was outside.
For the first time, she smelled something other than filth. She smelled a revitalizing fragrance that emanated from dry earth, petrichor, it filled her lungs to its content. She felt the rain droplets on her skin. It washed away her pain and sorrow and mended her broken heart. It cleansed her soul. At that moment she felt the joy of freedom in the rain. At that instant she realized:
God is in the rain.