25.9.09

Spring Rain

I woke up slowly, not sure what was pulling me from the satisfying depths of sleep and then I knew: it was the dance of lighting on the window and the rambling roll of thunder! The first spring rains have come!

For a few moments I just laid in bed listening to the first drops of rain pattering on the corrugated iron roof of our stoep and I silently said a prayer of thanksgiving for this yearly miracle of rebirth.

I do not think that people living in cities could ever fully comprehend the emotions that erupt in us living so close to nature, with the advent of the first rains of the season. In the words of Thabo Mbeki it is "a cause both of trembling and of hope". Trembling because a Highveld thunderstorm unleashes the full power and force of nature, which can be a daunting experience, and hope because it promises new life... a renaissance of nature.

When I went out onto the stoep and opened the outside door the first sensation I experienced was the scent of rain on the charred veldt surrounding my hometown. Over the past month we have had veldt fires flaring up almost daily, destroying cropland and pasture, and killing domestic animals and game, and although the acrid smell of rain on burnt bush is not a pleasant one, this scent caused excitement to spring up in me because now the Fire Season is over.

A thunderstorm was on its way but has not reached us yet and the rain that was falling, was still gentle. I went outside and stood in the rain for a few moments, just enjoying the spectacle of lightning flashing across the dark sky accompanied by the majestic roll of thunder through the silence of the night. I cannot remember a time when I was afraid of lightning and thunder. I grew up in a farm setting and although I have experienced a number of truly terrible storms with very strong winds and slashing rain, and I have seen the devastation that these storms and the ensuing floods can cause, thunder, lightning and rain has always been a welcome part of my living experiences.

I lived in the Western Cape for a number of years, where thunderstorms are very rare, and this was the one thing that I missed the most. I need to be reminded, every so often, of the majesty of nature and to experience the grandeur of a thunderstorm. It never ceases to fill me with wonderment and awe, a spectacle that no man has ever been able to recreate or emulate, even though they have tried. Humanly created sound, although sometimes heavenly as in music, and the play of laser lights just does not match the sound and sight of a Highveld thunderstorm.

This morning though, there is no sight of thunder or lightning. There is just the constant downpour of gentle spring rain drops on veldt and garden... washing away the drought of the winter months and the dust of the August winds... soaking into soil, working its life giving miracle deep down where the eye cannot see...

6 comments:

PhilipH said...

You paint a vivid picture of fire and rain, the smell of sweetness of raindrops on the barbequed grassland.

So easy to see you enjoying the sounds and the feel of the welcome precipitation.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Happy Spring Showers to you. I'm glad the sky has opened up to bring relief to you. It's raining lightly here as well; but ours is an autumn rain -- I'm sitting here with a cold nose thinking I should put my slippers on!!

JD said...

One of my favorite scents as a child was the smell of summer rain shower on the hot pavement of our driveway... I'd sit in the car port, inhaling it in. It usually came with a rainbow, whirring sounds of our bike tires kicking the water up into the air, and bare feet running through the wet grass.

Right now, I'm not enjoying rain quite as much. We live in a very rain soaked city, and the rain brings with it cold and damp weather... but without it, things wouldn't grow and renew, so I'm still thankful for it.

A human kind of human said...

Thanks for visiting Phillip. Yes the elements of nature plays a rather important part in my life. That is one of the reasons why Mellerstain House and its surroundings is such a treat.

It became quite cold at one stage today Doris, but even that was so welcome as we have been having temperatures of thirty degrees and more over the last couple of days.

JD, my favourite rain smell is when we have a sudden shower on a really hot summers day. The smell of the rain on the sunbaked red earth of the Bushveldt is absolutely heavenly.

Argent said...

Aah, I keep forgetting that it's not autumn for everybody on this planet. We never get such dramatic weather around here, although the seasons are getting a bit messed up by climate change. There really is a distinctive smell to rain, isn't there? I certainly smelt it in you post today. Great work!

Tim Bouwer said...

Wonderful post! I love your descriptions.