An Ode to Rain
Pluviophile: (n) a lover of the rain; someone who finds peace and joy during rainy days
Since I was young, I have always loved a good storm. Even as an adult I’ll still dance in the rain and jump into puddles. I moved to Scotland after a soggy December visit. So I suppose it could be reasoned that I am a pluviophile. But as I contentedly watched the rain beat on my window in Glasgow, I never appreciated the water as I do here. The countryside was green, and my hill walks were always accompanied by a trickle of water breaking loose from the soil as it edged its way to lower elevations.
Living in Selous, as soon as nature gets a hint of the dry season’s arrival, the trees shed their leaves. And it’s theorised that impalas can actually delay the birth of their lambs up to a month if the rains haven’t begun. As July wrapped up, already I watched the first dust devils spinning near Lake Tagalala from the chairs in our lounge. This year was much like the years before: hot and dry.
By the end of September, the animals, the trees, even the ground all cry out for just a drop of that life-sustaining, life-providing moisture. By October, we’re all on our knees. For the last week I’ve watched the thermostat hit 30°C before 10am. Another scorcher in sight. Our iconic baobab needs rain. The impala lambs yearn for rain. The pluviophile that I am craves rain.
The storms are building though out on the horizon. Thanks to our panoramic view, we watch dark clouds roll in from the east… and pass us to the north. Oh, Mother Nature, you’re such a tease. For the last month, I’ve tried to forecast the rain. “In 3 more days….” But three days pass, and the dust devils still turn.
Two nights ago it started with a flash of light at dinner. Just heat lightning; the storms are still distant, but it it inspires hope. At tea time yesterday the winds picked up and howled through the lounge. Puffy, dark clouds edged along Kipalala Hill threatening to open at any moment. And just when it looked like it would pass us yet again, they did.
For 30 minutes the heavens delivered an earth drenching rain that ran over the lip of the waterhole, and quenched a very parched terrain. Breathe in the familiar petrichor – the welcoming smell of saturated dirt after an extended dry and hot weather.
Welcome to the Short Rains!