September 6th 2013. I awoke and it was raining. My main overriding sensation is a feeling of relief. It’s been a week since it last rained and that was nothing to get excited about. We’ve had so little rain this year, here on our hill outside Derby. Our clay hill, where there was once a terracotta works, from what we’ve discovered, and the soil here still retains no moisture much of the time. The clay is wet, then it’s dry, there is no in between, no soaking and holding of the rain in trust for the plants that grow in it, or the animals that live on it. Clay—it’s either wet or dry. And most often it’s dry.
And I was living in Britain during the awful drought of 1976. And I have lived in Australia where you could mark on the calendar the number of days it rained and still have over 300 days of sunshine per year. Hot sunshine, drying out the earth, plants dying, grass turned to straw. Yes, I have come to appreciate the rain as I never would have thought possible. I now fear the sun. Oh I like it for the first day or two, then I worry. I don’t like too much sun. I like my weather cool and wet.
Like today. There have been forecasts for rain before today and it hasn’t come. But here it is. It is very dark today, so much so that I almost didn’t get up, thinking it was far earlier than it was. Have you ever noticed how colourful everything seems when it rains? The greens and reds and blues are all so much deeper, brighter, more concentrated. And with rain you get sound too. It’s not just touch and see. Sunshine is a two-sense thing. You can feel it, you can see it. But rain—you can hear that coming, it’s not stealthy and sneaky like sun, it’s just there, tapping away, gently then with more force, more vigour. You can’t ignore rain completely.
If I could choose my weather, it would go something like this: winter—rain Tuesday Wednesday, Friday, Saturday; anything else the rest of the time; summer—rain all day Wednesday, and overnight on Thursday and Friday, sun the rest of the time.
It’s cold today. Hopefully that will maximise the rain and make it last longer, feel more effective. I don’t know. It feels very autumnal although it’s only the beginning of September, but of course that’s partly because some of my plants have already either lost their leaves or the leaves have turned reddy-brown due to the lack of rain!