Sunday, July 29, 2012

In the space between showers


I wake again to rain falling on the apple trees. It is a sound that has filled my sleeping hours this strange summer; a whisper of jetstream winds, of misplaced fronts and the unseen swirling of weather systems over the dark Atlantic; a murmur of weather gone awry, of air masses which eddy in the upper atmosphere like the dark waters at the edge of flooded rivers, laden with silt and menace.
In the space between showers, I walk in the garden, noticing the beads of rain fresh on every leaf and flower. Each globe of wet shines at the edge with the promise of sunshine just over the horizon. Each plant has its own strategies for storing and conserving water; fluted petals to draw the raindrops down into the flower, rilled tips to the leaf to guide each perfect droplet onto the roots below. The ripening apples shed tiny droplets, as fresh-washed as those on a morning market stall.

There is a delicious thrift at work here; a prizing of the importance of water as a resource, not the familiar despair at the abundance of rain under which our summer fails. The relationship between the plant and the rain is simple and symbiotic, a grace in nature which we have long since lost, as alien as the dew ponds found in field corners in limestone areas; ancient strategies for holding water in those seasons when its scarcity could threaten food supplies.
In the slowly lightening morning sky, a blush of blue opens between the bruised clouds. Each day holds a promise of sun, a promise of rain, each a form of benevolence, a gift from the skies. I have long since abandoned weather forecasts, preferring to learn of the world through my bedroom curtains; the patter on the apple trees, the glow of brief sun.
The space between showers is a lacuna of peace; a gap in the restless mill of the world like those moments of pause in a day, between the laundry and the shopping, between lists and deadlines. It is a moment to be, rather than to do. It is like the brief moments in which I find time to write; fleeting and impermanent, barely long enough to grasp the thought before it is dragged away by more pressing things; the interlude of blue sky before the next shower of rain, a lucid moment of thought rising to the surface before it disappears once again in the muddying eddying of the day.

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