The first thing I notice is the smell of dirt. Fresh. Earthy. Rich-smelling. Soaked through like coffee grounds by the slow, night rain. The scent, catching the tail end of a breeze — a camp follower chasing the storm retreating north and east toward approaching day — snatches at the edge of sleep.
I left the windows open before heading to bed, much to the glee of the house’s night creatures. Hugging baseboards, they hurriedly slink back and forth from room to room, hard-pressed to contain their anticipation. They will now spend their finest waking hours perched in the sills, night eyes alert, knowing, watching the dark’s ballet with ancient, feline hunger. Along the deck nine pots, fresh seeded with herbs and pomme d’amour.
Usually, when waking in the wee hours, I put into play complex measures to head off my brain from catching, from taking hold and dragging me into wakefulness. Tonight, I set aside these rituals, having fallen asleep attuned, half-listening, for the promised-for storm.
Twice already, I’ve woken: first to that satisfying rumble of thunder in the distance. The second, to the rain making wet sounds on the timbers of the deck. On the grass further afield. Is there a faint, lingering impression of thunder now gone? I’m not sure.
To lay in the dark. To listen to the rain is a rare fine thing.
oh, Westron wind when wilt thou blow
the smalle raine downe can raine…
Not with the outburst of a cloudburst, but steady, persistent, audible above the sounds of the dogs and humans sleeping in the room.
Yet, even in the throws of it, there is a nagging knowledge that it will stop. In an hour or a few minutes. The quiet of the no-rain hours cannot be postponed forever.
For now, though, it is enough, to lie here and listen.