The rain is warm, a rare treat in the UK, and falling hard, fat raindrops plopping into hastily formed puddles, battering against earth that a few moments ago was dry dust. That smell, petrichor, floating joyously through open windows, the sun and heat of the morning suddenly dark, suddenly grey. The rain hammers against the conservatory, a thousand drumbeats, loud and insistent. Come outside, warm rain says. Feel alive.
I dance through open doors and turn my face to the sky, a relief after this dry spell. With water butts running dry and just a few drizzly days over the last six weeks or so, the weather has broken and it’s time to celebrate, even in a small way. Plants seem joyous, water battering green leaves, finally. Rivulets rush from the steep lawn, over the driveway, onto the road – the earth is too dry to absorb this sudden river. I stand, with heavy rain hitting my scalp, soaking through my clothes, raising hands to the sky and laughing, laughing.
This morning, everything is greener, brighter, fresher. The day dawns with blues and pinks and those fluffy clouds that rush across the skies as though chasing each other. The breeze brings a coolness and trees stretch into themselves, lazily reaching to the sun, refreshed from the energy of just a few hours ago.
The UK is no stranger to rain, of course. But those big, swollen raindrops after a hot morning – where the skies are leaden but the downpour still has warmth – those are the rare days. We are used to freezing pinpricks, cold mizzle, slate grey and shivering. I feel alive in warm rain, I need to run out in it, be part of it, rather than hiding away. There’s something primal, freeing, standing in this suburban garden but feeling some ancient reminder – an echo, a shadow – of what it is to be a human, standing in a downpour, for no other reason than to feel alive. Water for life, water for the soul.