Rain is such a tangible blessing from God. I’ve been wondering where the rain that falls onto our property goes, so I took a walk around.

A rain barrel in the backyard holds 45 gallons of rainwater before spilling over into a 5-gallon bucket and into a rain garden. There it seeps into the ground within 48 hours and supports native plants like button bush, cardinal flowers, Joe Pye and a large pin oak. Water in the barrel is used to wash cars and water plants indoor and out.

Several downspouts direct water toward raised garden beds, and wood chip paths hold water like a sponge.

From our neighbor’s driveway comes generous contributions to water pawpaw and persimmon trees, red twig dogwood and spicebush. A wood chip path to the compost pile bordered with sun drops and bee balm holds water until it’s filtered into the earth.

Last year, our street was repaved and, with a little help from a sand bag, street-water flow is diverted to join driveway runoff going into our roadside rain garden. Swamp milkweed, liatris and clustered mountain mint flourish there and catch the eyes of butterflies and passersby. We chat.

A recent goal was to see if it was possible to contribute zero rainwater from our property to the drains leading to the Chesapeake Bay. Under normal rainfalls we’ve succeeded. But it’s not an all-or-nothing deal. I wonder what others do to keep the blessing of rainwater useful on their property.

Dan Keener

East Hempfield Township