I welcome the promise of rain. Our plants desperately need it and I can feel the storm coming. The air feels heavy, the sky seems closer. It is only midday and yet the familiar bright tones of the garden seem washed out in the dim half-light belonging to dusk.
As the clouds roll over the hill at speed, we are pulling on our waterproof coats for the first time in weeks, ready to get outside and be willingly caught in the downpour. The long grass in the meadow is already drenched and water droplets flick up at us as we hike through it.
I have my second and third sons with me today and they run ahead together, slipping a little here and there in the mud, laughing as they do, charging headlong into the wind.
We turn off before the woodland today, taking a newer, southerly path through the lower fields. Only a week ago, the newly sewn crops were almost imperceptible and yet now the fields are a vivd seedling-green. The storm-light brings out the russet tones of the dried grass beside the footpath. Cow parsley is in bloom now, a dusting of white froth along the hedges.
The fallen tree, with its outstretched roots and branches, has been here so long now the path politely curves around it. I call to the boys to wait for me and stop briefly to take a look at the green patches of lichen. Close-up, it is a thriving world of its own.
The ancient byway shines with pools of water, meanwhile our boots become increasingly heavy with the clay soil-turned-to-mud. For a moment, the rain is sideways, blowing down from the higher ground, we brace ourselves against it and then, suddenly, the sun breaks through.
We are close to home now, and take a pause to look over to the distant city through a gap in the hedgerow. We shake off our hoods, exhilarated at the beautifully crisp air that the rain has left behind. We stand together for a few minutes, my arms around my sons’ shoulders, as we watch the storm sweep its way southwards.
—Keep safe and well everyone. With heartfelt thanks to all those who are working to keep us safe, especially those on the frontline in the NHS and hospitals around the world.—