Island Blog – How to see Rain

In the rain, an ever present presence in an island life, things look brighter, not so much through a window, when it just looks dreich and dull and unappealing, but out in it and engaged with it. No waterproof keeps all of the rain out for rain is a pushy wee so-and-so. It gets down a neck, into a boot, up a skirt and even manages to defy the velcro go-away fixing at my wrists. Once rain is in, I can feel a sense of acceptance. Ok, so you win…..let’s walk, shall we? Splash, squish, slop and try to avoid the grabbing fingers of bramble thorns and flopped over bracken. It amazeballs me how much water a skinny flopped over branch can retain and how generous it is at sharing said water.

It has rained, now, for many days. November seems doomed as a mostly wet month. I wonder if November is okay with that? You have to accept it, I say, because that is the only way to be marvellous even if you feel like you are drowning. I know you would rather be May or June, but those spots are taken. You have the name you have been given and the place you must inhabit. Think yourself lucky you aren’t February. I would hate to be February, or January for that matter. A lucky escape, I say.

This attitude is one I adopt for myself. In life, a life that can throw all manner of tiddleypom at a person, that person still has a choice. If I actually look at the extraordinary beauty of rain, drifting like a murmuration across the sea-loch, my heart lifts. When I stop to look at the brilliance of apple green moss or the diamond droplets on a field spider web I see perfect art, natural art, Mother Nature’s achievements. I stop noticing the ingress of rain, its initial shiver down my neck or up my frock and think instead on how my body warms the droplets almost instantly. Then I remember this water falls from the sky, from purity, from ice melt and from far far away. Who knows where this drop of sky water came from, sucked up from an ocean perhaps or from flatwater in, say, Iceland or Alaska. Maybe, before it came to me it had listened to someone speaking out their dream, their hope and longing, their prayer for guidance. Maybe there is a deal more to this droplet than first I thought. I could be absorbing something magical, someone’s story, a someone I will never meet. How completely marvellous is that!

I stop beneath a fat old gentleman of a beech tree and see his bark shine as if it was drenched in olive oil. The hole left by a branch that began itself but never finished is full of water, sky water, stories and dreams from far away. A little finch lands on its lip and drinks. I watch it dip and tip back its perfect head for a few seconds until it notices me and scoots into the sky. I think of the gift of rain. I remember, well, the intensity of drought in Africa where the ground is dry all the way to the centre of the earth, where rivers evaporate and the wild ones die and I am thankful to be here in this November, on this rocky island in a warm home on this wet day where I can choose how to see rain.