After the warmest, driest April that I can ever remember, I found myself yearning for rain. The ground was hard and dry and impossible to garden, and my spring flowers already looked spent. Then, at last, the rain comes. Dark, enormous cumulous clouds loom over the rooftops. I think of my Mother.
She had spent many years in East Africa, where she would wait longingly for the rains to break the monotonous hot sun and wash away the dust. Back home in England, she never once complained about the rain. In fact she loved rainy days. Somehow, I could never share her enthusiasm. That is until now. I watch the downpour from my window as it splatters into the dry earth and I swear I can see the flowers smile.
By late afternoon, the clouds are parting and the dipping sun bounces its beams off of the tiny droplets of water that adorn the abundant greenness. I gather my coat and boots, glad to leave the confines of home.
With the rain comes puddles, and with puddles come reflections. As my wellingtoned feet strut out along the path, the sky looks back at me from the pools of water beneath.
I smell the distinctive sweet, clean scent of rain on tarmac and the rich fragrance of wet earth and vegetation. The air is heavy with the scent of lilac and wallflower. I think of Mum again; perhaps she was right after all.
With a quickening pace to negate the cool breeze, I head through the wooded lanes where lime green, swollen canopies droop with the weight of their newly opened leaves. The cow parsley appears to have grown twice the size and the undergrowth is lush and luxuriant, whilst birdsong is carried on the wind.
I enter the hidden deep gorge of the tiny River Combe. A few days before, it had been a thin trickle. Now the water spills over the Corallian bedrock, noisy, burbling, chattering, and flowing; alive again after a long period of silence.
My mood lightens with each footprint in the mud as I make my way back down the lane towards the banks of the Stour. Here I pause to breathe in the water droplets as they bounce over the weir, spilling vitality down-stream. This feels better, reflections of the sky in the fast-flowing water ripple with energy. This is how a river should look in Spring time. Nature is working again and all is well.