The Day The Rains Came

February 17, 2014 § 9 Comments

First the seagulls arrived. Mewling and shrieking, tracing steep turns around my chimney pots – their wings stiff and wide as if they were aerobatic planes. They seemed to be arguing, undecided. In the late afternoon as the clouds scudded thick and grey from the north west, the sunset hidden, they glided into the meadow close to the house, spreading out to sleep in loose circles like fairy rings.

The barn owl stayed silent that night, and the blackbird that had been waking me for a week with her hopeful song, was gone. Before the rains came, the wind grasped the few leaves still on the trees and hurled them to the ground, and the gusts rattled the old casement windows so violently I stuffed bits of cardboard in the cracks to quieten them.

In the morning I went to the old mill. I always go there when I’m disturbed. The river was rising. Water heaved itself under the bridge making whirlpools in the mill pond, it’s character suddenly vigorous, aggressive, uncompromising. The branching tips of the leaning willows swirled above the broken surface of the water in the river’s turbulent wind.

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Later the wood upriver of the mill would flood, and the top heavy willows

would lean as their roots lost their grasp in the sodden ground.

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But the snowdrops would survive.

Emerging from their submersion, muddy, no less worse for wear…

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After four weeks of rain, the stretch of river where the otters live slipped over into the glacial valley.

It became a lake. Fences hidden, swans everywhere.

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And for now it remains, in all its beauty.

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But today the sky brightens. The animals know,  and the blackbird returns to sing.

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