Storming

I wait all day for the moon to bleed.  I’m ready to set off, to head for a point high on the banks of the river where I’ll be able to see the horizon.  I’ve watched the sky all day and listened to gentle grumbles of thunder, with growing disappointment, but have never quite given up hope.  Our first rain in weeks is forecast, and though I long for the rain, I hope it will hold off, just for a few hours.  But soon, the sky blooms dirty grey and I know that the moon is lost.

Lightning comes first: flash after flash with barely a pause in between.  It fractures the sky in hot white slashes.  Thunder booms and crashes.  And the rain comes heavy.  We stand outside in it.  After a day so humid it was hard to breathe, this is welcome refreshment.  The sky becomes darker and darker.  It’s difficult to tell where storm ends and twilight begins.  A street light winks on and we stare up, up into the grey, revelling in getting wet.  The air smells like burning.  Celebratory voices waft over the storm.  We marvel at the lightning, and as the thunder vibrates off stone and brick, echoing in the spaces in between, I feel my body vibrating too.  The storm is bombardment: there is violence in it, and abandon, and the joy of long-needed rain.  I don’t remember a storm like it.

The day after the thunderstorm, the air breeds noise.  I hear the distant roar of planes at the air show thirteen miles down the coast, like an echo of last night’s thunder.  The wind flaps and rattles.  The fog horn hums.  The air remains alive: moaning and roaring and singing.

There is talk of climate change on the news, of the heatwaves and wild-fires across the world, of how this could be our new normal.  Nobody says it’s already too late.  They talk in measured tones of getting greenhouse gases under control, but I suspect we’re the proverbial frogs already slowly boiling as the water heats around us.

I love the British seasons.  I love the predictability of the transformation from one to another, but I love the way the weather is never predictable within each one.  I love the way that an obsession with the weather is part of the British psyche.  I fret at the thought of hot, dry summers to come.  But a week after the eclipse, and it seems that the British summer as we know it is here.  The heat hasn’t abated, but it’s punctuated by showers and cooler intervals.

I walk in the country park in the rain.  I don’t mind getting soaked.  It’s still warm and the rain is still a relief after such a long absence.  It patters and drips from the trees.  Drops are cupped in the flowers of wild roses.  The hedgerows aren’t yet in their full August colours of yellow and purple.  The purples of greater willowherb and knapweed have arrived, but the yellows are mostly absent.  I hear the coo of a wood-pigeon hidden in the canopy as I walk the overgrown paths, and the occasional cluck of a moorhen, but otherwise the birds are silently moulting, not even a blackbird serenading the rain.  At the pond, I watch a moorhen guiding her chick on the grass with soft clicks.  A mallard shepherds a brood of teens – I can’t tell which is the adult.  I watch a crow bathe in a gutter.  Rain must be a relief to all of them.

Lammas has come and gone with its promise of transformation.  It is the first in my favourite cycle of festivals and heralds the harvest to come.  There have been warnings this week about food stocks for animals being dangerously low, and while I think about the harvest of my own achievements, I also wonder what this year of strange weather will mean for the other gatherings to come.   But the final harvest isn’t here yet, there is still time to make a difference to the reckoning, and for now, the storms are the only help I need.

 

97 thoughts on “Storming

  1. Good morning, Andrea. As always your blog is a joy to read. I say it over and over again, but you do paint with words. If I close my eyes and hear your words the pictures you talk about are vivid in my mind’s eye.
    I love the ‘proverbial frogs’ observation…..and yes I do think you are right.
    It has been a long hot summer, but compared to others around the world, probably not so bad. Fortunately my flat/studio in London has large windows at each end…and so all windows open and door to balcony propped open as well…which does make a huge difference…and when it’s very difficult, on goes the fan. The year is moving rapidly and so it wont be long before we talk about autumn. Have a beautiful day. Janet 🙂

    Like

  2. I love how your words bring me into your world so clearly and evocatively! Thanks for sharing Andrea. I’m glad you had some rain and relief from the hot dry summer. The new weather patterns around the world are disturbing, but I hope we will adapt and learn to live with much less environmental impact.

    Like

  3. It’s refreshing to hear of wet paths, rain dripping from the branches and wildlife (and humans) relishing the moist conditions. We still hope for more rain here. At least we’re not living in Portugal with 47 degrees!

    Like

  4. I really liked the bit about the weather never being predictable within each season. (In the last big thunder storm we had we lost our phones and our oven – in one flash! That was 4 months ago – and the oven’s still not fixed. I’m craving for shortbread!!)

    Like

  5. What a relief for you. It’s been dry here, too, but not quite as bad as by you. We’ve been getting rain about once every two weeks. It’s raining on and off today, but then no more in the forecast for the next ten days to two weeks again.

    Enjoy the refreshing quench while it lasts. 🙂

    Like

  6. Sad to say, but perhaps we are that proverbial frog, unable to listen to the prophesies of global warming, therefore stewing in our own juices. I pray not, but the weather portends otherwise. Your description of the thunderstorm, the relief, the sounds of the summer booming season, are so familiar to those of us in New England. England/New England. Lots of similarities in the people and the places. I’ve discovered the favorite topic of people who live in this region is —– THE WEATHER.

    Like

  7. Yes, I love our British obsession with the weather! I suppose it comes from our varied and unpredictable climate. It has certainly gotten me out of many awkward moments when I haven’t been able to think of a single thing to say – a faithful subject I can rely on for rescue! Lovely writing, Andrea.

    Like

  8. I too held out hopes of seeing the red moon. After all those days of clear night skies how could the clouds be so mean! It got me thinking about things I had seen – the comet in 1997 which was clearly visible in London for quite a long time and I remember how cold it was and how eerie when there was the total eclipse around the same time. Now we have all this information about these events but it makes me wonder what it would have been like for earlier peoples to look up and see the moon turn red. How did they explain it? What did they think it meant? Fascinating!

    Like

    • Exactly, typical of our weather! I was reading Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek today and she brought it to life for me when she was talking about how many years it would have taken for the first people to realise there was a pattern to the weather and the seasons with no reference point to work from. I’m not looking forward to January 2019 when there’s another one!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Andrea, your prose is at its finest in this post. I always shake my head in wonder at the beauty of your words. Your closing remarks rang loudly in my heart. I feel my career, my life has suffered and dried up in a drought, and I have nothing to harvest. Hopefully the dormant seeds of my unfinished books will one day get to sprout.
    Hugs to you and Winston. Thanks for taking us outside into the warm rain to play.

    Like

  10. Andrea,
    I read your words tonight during a loud, violent thunderstorm. I love the sound of thunder booming through the atmosphere. I find myself thinking about many of the same things that you are. I think we may have passed the tipping point for climate change. I listened to an interview with Paul Kingsnorth today, and while he offered no hope for the inevitability of climate change, he gave hope that somehow our stories will save us. IF we begin to tell a different story than the story of progress. And these new stories are often the old stories—myth, lore, etc. I found it interesting. More to think about. But for now, I’m going back to my thunderstorm.

    Like

  11. Such wisdom, such a timely peek into our fast changing environment. I love a good summer storm and oh, how we need your rains here. They say these weather extremes are the new normal but I hope they are wrong. Thanks for the summer storm experience. Your writing is second only to being there for the storm in person. Nicely done.

    Like

  12. Hello Andrea, we’re in between showers at the moment here in Staffordshire, I was watching the Blackbirds, all 6 of them, running around the lawn enjoying the change in conditions, and it made me think of you and your little pal.
    I hope you’re both well.

    Like

  13. We’re just coming off of two weeks of heat and humidity. Today is a bit cooler with a lovely breeze. Tomorrow some rain. I had hoped to spend the weekend gardening as it’s been way too hot to be out there lately–no such luck. I have been able to pick blackberries from my bushes in my backyard. Those have been growing madly in this heat!

    Like

  14. I too love the unpredictability of weather, watching how it can transform from moment to moment, ever-changing. Your description of the sensation after the storm caught my attention: “The air remains alive: moaning and roaring and singing.”

    Like

  15. It’s beautiful to read your poetic words on such an alarming topic. Like some of your readers I believe that it is too late to reverse what we have done to our planet. Sadly we never took seriously the warning signs, as we too often ignore the signs our bodies send to tell us something is off. Wild fires, heat waves in parts of the world that had never seen such temperatures, devastating tornadoes and hurricanes, floods that leave nothing behind are our new normal. Like you I love seasons and wish that each person of earth had the chance to live one entire cycle somewhere beautiful.

    Like

  16. I was told over 15 years ago that the climate changes would continue and get worse, and we’re surely seeing them. We had a stretch of days of unending heat high in the 90’s, then with humidity, but otherwise can barely find one day when it doesn’t rain sometime during the day. Yes, the frogs in the pot – maybe the canaries in the coal mine. But look at how lovely your photos are, and how wonderful a thunderstorm is through you, the best lens. Kisses to Winston.

    Like

  17. it’s amazing how a storm wipes all the senses clean. A beautiful post and I’m sorry you didn’t get the eclipse. For us it wasn’t a full one. But Mars was very visible and I could even make out his misshapen moons with a telescope. It’s cooled down on the Coast as well but no thunder storms yet. Enjoy the rest of the season Andrea!

    Like

  18. This…. “The air remains alive: moaning and roaring and singing.” as always your writing stirs in me, “YES!” Your writing is powerful and somehow reflective of each scene. I, too, am connected to the weather. The hot, dry, high fire danger season is upon us where I live. It is dreadful. Thankfully, the beauty of nature and the garden take the edge off my discomfort.

    Like

  19. I was very disappointed at not seeing the blood moon and Mars, too. A wonderful post, Andrea! I am trying to hope that we can do something about our world before things get too awful. I hope we don’t get summers like this one every year!

    Like

  20. I love your descriptions of the English seasons and country and weather.. you always make me feel homesick for all that beauty… your words and your pictures add up to such a poetic exquisite experience when I read your beautiful blog…
    Yes, I fear the beauty we enjoy before the changes become permanent may become a memory and then history in the next cycle of time… and the hardship to all creatures whose habitat has been polluted, stolen, and who are hunted for fun, and to other beings who may even exist in benign places too, will be unimaginable..
    sorry to sound so pessimistic, but sometimes I feel that humankind has buried its collective head in the sand…

    Like

  21. Ahh…the rain felt so good after such incessant heat, didn’t it? After living in CA for so long when temps hit 40 plus every day for two months in the summer, I tell everyone that trust me, you would miss our glorious British seasons if you didn’t have them! Unlike in CA, there is always hope for rain and cool soon…as in now. Still muggy…but not complaining, at least I don’t think I am! It is worrying though… Lovely post and photos as always, Andrea, I always enjoy walking with you through rain or shine 🙂 xxx

    Like

  22. Your words draw the reader right into the scene ~ the opening, along with your second photograph made me feel the cool rains, wonderful writing Andrea. And nothing quite like the sweet smells of the day after a storm.

    Like

  23. Beautiful description of storm, Andrea. It is majestic and God-like, and at the same time it is a good farmer who makes sure the crops have plenty of water. This summer I do appreciate the rain 🙂

    Like

  24. I love this, Andrea — the way you paint such a wonderful picture of the brooding grey before the rain storm and the sense of revival afterwards. My particular favourite is your paragraph that begins “The day after the thunderstorm, the air breeds noise”. Just brilliant 🙂 Where I live, we had the rainstorms and all the leaves on the shrubs and trees looked exceptionally green afterwards but, being on chalk soil, the ground dried out very fast and it was soon as if it had never rained.

    Like

  25. Your writing is always a beautiful accounting of your surroundings and the seasons, Andrea.

    We are still in our dry season, but with more cloudy weather now. I am looking forward to September.

    Like

  26. I can’t help but wonder what you would write if you were walking in a forest nearby my folks’ home in Gig Harbor, Washington. It is beautiful and serene here, the wide blue expanse of the harbor waters offering a respite daily from whatever bothers us, and the forest walks are refreshing (my husband calls it “forest bathing” after he read an article about it). I enjoy the anticipation of what words you will choose as you describe landscapes and their moods and the changing weather. Brava, Andrea!

    Like

I love comments, please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.