Note on cloud and rain

I’m driving away from Middleton where I’ve spent most of the day surveying for otters. The weather has been clear and bright, with the sun bouncing off the river in glittering bursts. Joyous.

Now heading west towards Yoxford I can see the sky is darkening. When people talk about the heavens opening I have always pictured some kind of celestial trapdoor dumping lakes of water in a matter of seconds. But over the ploughed fields and industrial farms of Suffolk it looks like the cloud itself is reaching down, tendrils of teased iron wool, a smoky cumulus finger. Ratty-haired strands of rain.

It’s two miles before I’m in range. At first the rain leaves delicate paw-print patterns on the windscreen but the rhythm quickly grows until each drop explodes like a water balloon lobbed from on high.

I slow the car. The roads are already soaked, it has clearly been raining for some time. I wind my window down hoping for that spring smell of hard rain on warm land. The water tracks down the inside of the door and splashes pin pricks of cold on to my hands.

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