A Suburban Storm
Suddenly realising that my eyes are straining to read the words on the page, I look up from my novel to discover that the room has grown dark. The sunbeams threading their way through the blinds only moments ago have melted away, taking their dancing gilt motes with them. The atmosphere has gone through a subtle alteration – the air feels charged somehow and my skin prickles in response.
I walk towards the window to see if I can attribute this change to some outside force, and I am transfixed by a cloud that spans the immediate horizon, blocking out the sun with ominous dark presence. The last remnants of day are excluded by the blanket of black and I wait for the inevitable.
The rain begins. The kind of rain that always makes you think that you’ve never seen rain like it before. Rain, astonishing in its intensity, in its ferocious pounding of the earth, in its fast accumulation in rapidly expanding puddles. Rain.
I feel intimidated yet fascinated by this demonstration of nature – it is awe-inspiring. I feel a sudden compulsion to dash out of the front door and dance on the sodden grass, mud besplattered with my hands raised to the sky. The downpour running through my hair, drenching every strand, every cell, every fibre of my being, while I laugh and leap and whirl around madly.
But you don’t do that kind of thing in the suburbs. I stare through the window at the droplet speckled glass, my gaze following the tiny rivulets that flow down the smooth surface. Adjusting my focus, I look at the windows across the street and notice other figures staring back, staring at the storm, staring at the rain, staring at nature’s intrusion on the calm regulated order of daily ritual.
I begin to wonder if these figures have the same compulsion as me. To throw caution to the tempest and surrender to the storm. To feel the cold droplets trace the edges of our flesh. To inhale that special rain scent as it hits the tarmac, the lawn, the soil. To abandon that stifling feeling of strict conformity that binds our behaviour to the norm, the acceptable, the expected. Or is it just me….
I open the window wide and stretch out my hand. Quickly my arm is covered in a thin film of moisture, glistening in a stray ray of sun that has escaped the heavy sky. Raising my eyes to the heavens, I see the cessation of the storm. The brightening of sky, the dissolution of cloud, the clearing of air and the end of the rain.
A missed opportunity. My heart sinks. Why didn’t I leave the safe, dry space of the home for the vibrant fertility of the summer squall? Why didn’t I cast off the shackles of conformity for nature’s sweet embrace? Why didn’t I risk ridicule to feel my body rocked by the awesome strength of the storm?
Next time, I promise myself. Next time…