Thursday, 1 May 2014

Beneath the Rain

The air was still, thick and potent. Trapped beneath the spreading branches of the trees surrounding her, it lurked, turgid and somnolent in contrast to the sprightliness and activity of earlier days. Once, a brisk breeze had whipped its way through this forest. Flower heads had bobbed and leaves had whirled. Her skirts that now hung limply around her calves had once fluttered in the chill, fresh air flowing between the trees.

Now the sounds of the woods were dulled, the weight of the air pressed in around her and the world was oppressed by humid stillness. The light that filtered through to her was discoloured and full of promise. Her usual walk felt more onerous than she was used to and the air she hauled into her lungs seemed deeply unsatisfying and she felt unpleasantly hot and damp as the sweat failed to evaporate from her skin.

Finally she broke out from the densely packed trees and into a glade overrun with wilting bluebells. Walking through them she felt as listless as they appeared. Unlike them, she gazed up into the sky. It had been blue with large fluffy clouds earlier, but now was grey with ochre tints. As she watched it seemed to darken before her very eyes and an ominous rumble sounded. Her lips lifted into an anticipatory smile.

Looking around she spied a relatively clear patch of grass. With a cautious check for deposits of natural or human origin she lay down and watched the turmoil above. Within minutes the lightest whisper of a wind dusted across her face. A moment later is was followed by another, stronger gust. She spied something in the air above her and her head turned to watch it pass. She lost focus quickly, but saw the tiny breeze hit the bluebells. A ripple of excitement seemed to pass through them and one or two appear to tilt slightly; trying to look up at the sky. The grass nearest her head bobbed in and out of her vision and she returned her eyes upwards.

Another rumble. This one was louder, longer and deeper.

Spack!

The sound of water hitting a dry organic surface assailed her ears. She kept looking straight up, but her smile widened. Another spack sounded somewhere further away. After a few slow rattles, the pace picked up and simultaneously the heavens opens utterly drenching her, a loud crack of thunder sounded and the clouds above her shimmered white.

Around her the world exploded. A million insects leaped into the air and every bluebell cast out its scent. As she lay there, glorying in the fresh air, sweet scent and the sheer power of the storm raging above her she felt cleansed. All the petty problems she had carried here with her seemed somehow irrelevant and she laughed out loud when a raindrop hit her right on the tip of her nose.

Ten minutes later the initial gush had passed and the rain had settled into steady thrumming. The oppressive heat had disappeared and a chill began to set in. She sat up and wrapped her arms around her legs. Until the thunder and lightening faded she was going nowhere near the trees but despite the cold, despite the ground beneath her becoming unpleasantly muddy she felt joyous.

Rain trickled around the nape of her neck, down her spine and cleavage before disappearing into the folds of her skirt. Still smiling she tilted her head back and stuck out her tongue to catch drops of rainwater. She stopped when the sensation became too ticklish to bear, but remained relaxed and content. In her short time there, her troubles had faded, her mind had stilled and her entire being felt renewed. In this place, at this time, she felt a part of the world around her.

Alicia