Friday, October 29, 2004

Rain triggering the flood

Today it rained heavily for about 20 seconds at 8.12 when I stepped, umbrella-less, out of the door to work. I went back for the umbrella. This took all of a minute. By the time I got back out it was drizzling. I barely raised an eyebrow.

I remember sitting in my room in the middle of the English 'summer' just past, rearranging my photos and postcards on the wall and trying not to look outside. I tended to overuse non-descript when describing the weather this summer, but I will use it again because the only better way to describe it is as an absence of weather and that is just silly.

One boring and grey day, as I sent my reluctant gaze outside like a child into the gloom of England's summer, my mind had itself an epiphany – I could write a book about eternal summer and beautiful gardens and adventures and ...! I suppose, then, that the sunny, balmy days of English children's literature were wishful and hopeful rather than factual. Given that I spent my genuinely sun-drenched childhood longing for the counties of England, it is a bizarre twist that once here, those amazing Famous Five-adventures would be acted out in black and white, not techni-colour.

When the outdoors is bright and warm and activity is a pleasure and an instinct, there is no need for the more intellectual pleasures of 'culture'. We made our own history, woven around shafts of sunlight, the sunbeams and hot air drawing our thoughts up and out, the fresh air aiding the first flights of our intellect. My childhood consisted of the four of us roaming the garden, the beach and the farm, building the narrative of our lives with the eternal drive of imagination and the chorus of 'just say that ...'

I am glad that I did not rush into the age of understanding the post-modern cultural references in Buffy but lingered long in the freezing summer mornings when the sand was like ice, balmy New Years Eves spent sleeping in bathers on the lawn with the rest of the party and the days when merely thinking raised a sweat.

In such a raw and beautiful place as Perth, I was too busy actually doing to spend hours retelling or reforming the doing into a telling. Over here I must gorge myself for an hour or so on the beauty of art and history to warm the cold fingers of my searching mind for a few days afterwards. The glow of a trip to Europe banishes the chilblains with the glorious heat of experience for a week only. My thoughts turn inwards, taking the wonders that I see into my heart to preserve them, for they stand before me in the grim grip of cold and rain.

But then I suppose I do not mind the weather so much. Once you have muddled your way through the drizzle to the tube, steamed gently with the rest of the jam-packed carriage for the journey and reached an office whose fluorescent brilliance is close to the only real light you see all day, a friend's face is just that much more precious and bed seems that much more appealing.

I think that is my weather-rant quota used up for this month!