Absorbed as I am in daily activities; it is some time before I realise that everything in nature has gone quiet. No birds chirp. No leaves rustle. No insects sing. Air that had been hot all day hangs heavy over the trees and sits on my shoulders. With a vague feeling of uneasiness, I move to the window.
There, far off, against the mountains tracing their uninterpretable graph of boom and slump, lies the answer. Cloud has piled on cloud to form a ridge of mammoth thunderheads, billowing and rearing against the sky. But the piercing whiteness of their shining towers does not last. Soon the thunderheads impose themselves before the late-afternoon sun, and the resultant half-light comes creeping on, halting, whimpering and shivering,wrapped in patches of cloud and rags of mist, like a beggar. The clouds wipe-up spilled sunlight. A gust of wind whips the dust along the road.
A door bangs shut. Loose shutters strike the hours. Curtains billow into the room. I rush to close the windows to stop the curtains inhaling and exhaling. Now I strip the clothes line, secure the patio furnishings, feeling intimidated by the overwhelming cloudbank on the horizon. Thunder growls and grumbles in the distance.
The first drops of rain are huge. They splat into the dust, imprint the windows with individual signatures and plink-plunk on the patio roof, like someone inexperienced at typewriting; tapping here and there using only two fingers. Leaves shudder under the weight of water, and the footpath wears a coat of shiny spots. Then faster, like the roll of drums, the individual drops become an army marching over fields and rooftops. Lightning flickers silently in the sky, like a faulty fluorescent tube. A bolt of lightning stabs the earth. Heaven's exclamation: the storm is here!
Seconds later, I jump at the sudden crack of thunder. No longer lurking far off, it rattles the window panes and sends the dog scurrying under a bed. The next bolt is even closer. It raises the hair on the back of my neck, and I take an involuntary step back.
I know I should not be standing so near the window – for safety's sake - but I cannot resist the show.
The rain becomes a torrent, flung capriciously by a rising wind. Together they batter the trees and flatten the grasses. Water streams off roofs and out of downpipes. It pounds against the window in such a steady way that I cannot see. How can so much fall so fast? How could the clouds have supported this colossal weight?
Pacing through the house from window to window, I am moved to wonder. Look how the Cooktown Orchids bend under the assault, how the branches of the Poinsettia are flattened, how the hillside steps are a new-made waterfall. Through the barrage now comes the thud of hail, typewriting on the roof. More stones bounce white against the grass and splash into the puddles. I retreat to the lounge to light a fire.
But, already the storm is passing. The tension is released from the atmosphere. The curtains of rain let in more light, and the thunder slams a final door.
I am drawn outside while the rain still falls. Even in the shelter of the roof I am soon wet with the mist of spattered drops, but it is cool and welcome. I breathe deeply and watch the sun streak through the breaking clouds. One ray catches the drops that form on the edge of the roof, and I am treated to a row of tiny quivering spectrums of colour - my own private row of rainbows. Down the street there are strings of coconut palms, their fronds tiny bursts of celebrations in the sky.
In a few minutes I can pick my way across the wet grass. Across the street, above the park, there is a kite in the wind tying boy and sky together. Not far from him, there is a silk patch of blue lake tacked to the green countryside by the taut fishing lines of a hundred anglers. The creek in the gully runs full of brown water, but the small, sudden lakes and puddles are already disappearing into the earth. The garden looks surprisingly unbattered. The trees have lost only a few leaves. Still there are some leaves, sliding down banisters of air. Every brick, tile and blade of grass is fresh and shining. Wet leaves stick like emblems on the path. The air was never cleaner or sweeter.
Slowly, the night creeps on. The sky, clad in delicate chalk grey, has stuffed the sun in its top pocket, like a red silk handkerchief. Each street lamp wears a halo of light - frail and silvery as a dandelion gone to seed. Like the land itself, I am renewed. My very spirit is cleansed. I feel an infinite peace, washed by the glories of the storm. Around me, the night knits an eyeless mask. Inside, the fireplace shadows do soft-shoe dances on the loungeroom walls. I ease myself into a patio chair and muse: "The fury and glories of a tempest cleanse the spirit as well as the land."
@Shadowdrake27 It's not perfect but this would be an example of injecting some 'voice' into the description. The intention was to convey the narrator's wonder towards the dynamic nature of... well nature. Really not a lot going on here but I'd consider it relatively successful in that aspect.
Thanks for sharing this, I thought it was good! I liked your descriptions of the rain the best. It was a pretty good description and capturing of what it feels like to be in the middle of a storm.