The strong wind is warm. It is restless, agitated. Hair, loose straps, clothing, leaves and branches – all are tossed by the mutinous challenge of the gusts. The sun shines hot from blue sky, but clouds are building. The air broods; it’s thick and turbulent.
White clouds tinged with grey gather together, chasing each other across the sky. Wisps become dense cotton wool balls, then billowing smoke stacks. They coalesce, the skies darken. In the wood, the light chasing between fluttering leaves silently ebbs away. Insects slow down, bird song quietens, shadow engulfs woodland clearings. The rustle in the leaves above becomes a rushing roar in the breaths of heat blowing through them.
The birds and insects become silent, the wood is dark, the wind blows with reckless excitement. And then, in the distance, a gentle whisper. The noise builds to an insistent pattering across the canopy, then in loud unison the first drops of rain fall onto the leaves above. In the clearing, the fire hisses, ash shifts. Huge blots of rain fall to the floor, knocking small twigs, rattling dry leaves, soaking instantly into the dust of paths. Under the branches, the woodland floor remains dry. Nothing can be heard over the collision of liquid on leaf, a thudding crescendo.
The drops are relentless, the leaves can no longer hold them all in the canopy. Water begins its slalom from leaf to leaf, giant globules gathering on leaf tips before crashing down to soak the leaf below. The woodland floor, now bombarded by the heavy drips, becomes wet. Rivulets form; water trickles down tree trunk and over rock. The temperature drops, skin is clammy. On ground trampled hard by feet, puddles form and boil under the constant pounding of droplets. The fire struggles to keep alight in the space under the dripping kettle; steam rises from the ash. Wind whips the treetops into a swirl of tumult as the skies hurl torrents of stinging, shimmering pellets at the ground. Branches bend in the whirling frenzy of water and sound.
Then, without warning, the darkness in the wood shifts slightly, the thudding of the rain in the canopy lessens. Sunlight bursts into the clearing as the grey cloud cracks open above. Vibrant green explodes from the leaves, a warm smell of damp earth and leaves fills the wood. Steam rises from wet logs. Lazy drips taking their time to reach the ground, fall gently. The sun is hot again, air heavy with water vapour. Birds resume their conversation, insects come out from their shelter. The wood basks in the summer sun, the restless wind has blown itself out. Peace returns to the trees.