After the rain
I stood and looked out. The air was thick and heavy and made my hair curl and frizz about my head.
It has been ridiculously hot and humid lately, a month of record temperatures was broken with a big dump of rain recently. The sudden and violent downpour caught suburbia by surprise, it’s hot, bothered and sleep deprived citizens flooded and swore.
Mother nature was not surprised, she had been watching and waiting, when the rain came her people were ready. Relieved and thirsty they embraced the rain or burst through the dusty brown earth showing themselves to drink greedily. All life here was changed temporarily by the rain.
The sky looked grey, as I watched, cars slowed down and slushed through over large puddles forming on the road beyond my garden which looked fresh and vibrant. When the cars had passed birds flew down to wash, fighting over the best spots.
Young cicada nymphs had hatched from their eggs and crawled up through the damp earth. The rain had reminded them of their life cycle, a sudden cloud of adult cicadas had emerged. Their buzzing and clicking united to produce the overpowering hum of summer. I closed my window against their sad summer song and traced my name while I pushed my cheek into the coolness of the glass. The rain had made musical notes on my window and I tapped on the glass to try and make them move.
I was hot inside. I called to Dog we were going out into the bush, I kicked around downstairs for some waterproof shoes and the lead.
Drowning in the amplified sound of thousands of insects vibrating their bodies, under the light green canopy of ferns, it was easy to imagine myself walking through the Amazon rainforest. My body reacted to the humidity, making sweat freely, my shirt and any hair that had escaped my bun stuck uncomfortably. I stood and felt the damp rise, felt the cold leftover drips catch at my clothes and neck.
Everything was so busy, I Could hear the rain being harvested.
A wood pigeon called, another answered like an echo. I heard the Tuis, Fantails and Rosellas talking. Something buzzed too close to my ear making me dance and swat. I scratched at my legs, mosquitoes were feasting. I knew I would be counting the red itchy marks on the sofa later but I wanted to hear what the rain had unlocked, so I stood awhile and listened; everything sounded different.
Water moved, I pushed off the track through green wet fronds. Crouching down I found a little brown fish who darted away. I had interrupted her private moment in a murky rainwater pool. I let the vegetation window close and retraced my steps backwards.
Back on the track a bee, suspended just ahead, as if she were held on a thread from above, suddenly dropped like a Chinook helicopter. She buzzed, thankful that the clover felt refreshed enough to open its purple petals for her business
The clouds were breaking up too thin and empty to hang on. Against the blue, now skirting a golf course, a gum tree groaned and stretched a little, throwing down her old brown clothes, which crunched under my weight.
Ducking back into the bush, coarse, hairy fists and pointy fingers punched and poked at my calves, making my socks wet, leaving pieces of themselves on my skin.
I saw a nest of baby spiders waiting for the breeze, Rain had whispered it was close behind her. ‘You should hold on to your silks and wait just a little longer, it’s nearly time’ she had promised. I stood and watched the tiny replicas play games in their soft sticky home.
Cicadas were all around me high in the bush, singing about their release, drying their new clothes. Their last days spent calling, a tragic love song. They stilled themselves and stopped as I walked below, they were not singing to me.
Soft green moss, domed in dappled light, plump and happy to have drunk its fill sat freely. Moss and lichen lifted itself from surfaces everywhere, raised birthmarks on trunks, some looked like wizard beards caught on high branches.
Hot but happy I sat on a damp bench watching ants doing something that required much checking and rechecking at high speed, while I scratched at my legs and allowed my rain jacket to dry. I laughed and watched the dog rolling over and over in the wet grass.
I closed my eyes and breathed, a giant bush dragonfly sat down with me. The Maori call them Kapokapowai which means water snatcher, I think, the perfect companion. I could feel the heat of the sun pushing through those torn grey clouds, and jumped up to hurry back to the car The humidity was rising and air conditioning called.
Tomorrow, I thought, all will have been sucked away back to the beginning, but today, I have seen and heard after the rain.