Singing in the rain

At last! The most welcome sound. It’s really raining. Thank heavens, if you’ll forgive the pun.

I may sound weird but I was getting concerned. On this eastern edge we’ve avoided rain for weeks. Other counties have had soaking downpours. My daughter rings me up from the South whilst she’s walking in it. And even driving a little way inland there were puddles on the road. But we get nothing. Just a face full of grit blowing off the land and dying plants.

The oak tree’s leaves have been curling worse than old folks’ toenails and turning just as yellow and it’s only June. Some of them had completely given up and let go and lie littering the drive like autumn. And I’ve been watering the garden since April. Bucket by bucket, I hasten to add. I daren’t get the hose out. I’m conscious that this natural resource is too precious to be playing about on the garden, especially since the crops need it. The farmers have been watering desperately, trying to save their livelihoods.

I had got to the point where I was considering going outside and doing a rain dance. But embarrassed family members persuaded me otherwise. I’ve been devising ways to catch any bit of moisture dripping anywhere but my butts remained dry for months. The birds must have been desperate too for when I put some wet in the dusty bird bath they were queuing up ready and there was soon a selection of them sloshing in it like teenagers in fountains on hot city days.

Now, at last, there is water cascading into the water butts. The lavish greens are returning, the leaves are shining again and there are puddles all down the path. Even the cat thinks it’s great compared to the rubbish tap water we give him and laps it out the pools. His coat’s all spiky with wet.

Best of all there’s the most succulent smell. Better than flowers. Better than warm cornfields. Better than freshly podded peas. A most drinkable smell of long-dry wet land. I swear I can hear the dry grass drinking and the plants sucking on it as kids do with ice lollies.

Soon my butts will be full, there will be water aplenty and I shall stop worrying about the wildlife. I shall walk with soaking knees in long wet grasses and persuade the dog this is a good thing as she stands looking dejected, fair weather walker that she is. But the beauty of walking in the rain is that, apart from the excuse to sing the song, I usually get the place to myself and there’s no one to overhear!

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