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It rained a couple of nights ago and the morning after–a steady persistant rain that soaked the earth without flooding it–the countryside is absorbing it thankfully.

The emerging sunflowers were struggling with the drought but already look greener and happier.

 ” a box of rain–“

the phrase came into my mind because the rain was gentle and reminded me of the rhythm of a number from “American Beauty”–

a studio album the Grateful Dead recorded in the early Seventies.

…It’s just a box of rain

I don’t know who put it there

Believe it if you need it

or leave it if you dare

But it’s just a box of rain

or a ribbon for your hair

Such a long long time to be gone

and a short time to be there.

The song is upbeat and beautiful–though the circumstances of its creation were sad I discovered…

Bassist Phil Lesh, who wrote the music:

“..at that time, my dad was dying of cancer, and I would drive out to visit with him at the nursing home  and  on the way out there I would practice singing the song. I sort of identified that song with my dad and his approaching death. The lyrics Bob (Robert Hunter) produced were so apt, so perfect. It was very moving for me during the period of my dad’s passing. I felt like singing it in other situations similar to that since then.

asked what the phrase meant, lyricist Robert Hunter replied:-

 By “box of rain,” I meant the world we live on, but “ball” of rain didn’t have the right ring to my ear, so box it became, and I don’t know who put it there.”

Nothing to do with rainfall after all–“but me and the sunflowers” are “grateful” anyway!

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