Rain beats a rhythm on the roof. The windows are fogged up with kettle-steam, and daylight is vanishing but there’s just enough light to see the stream and the green banks. StarHit by raindrops, one leaf and then another, dips, bounces, and recovers. The ivy-twined mossy bough of an ash reaches across from the far bank, its profile enhanced by the white water, and trembling epiphytes march along it. Water-mist hangs between the trees like ghosts and curls like a breath over the hills. Rain slides into the sodden, leaking ground, where pools and runnels of cold water collect in the old leaves damming the culverts and ditches. It has been raining for days.


The rain stops. The sky becomes smoke blue, with snowy-rose clouds rushing east. It gets dark, and the hurrying clouds look whimsical, beyond the woodsmoke. Stars are brittle-bright and a sailing half moon (looked at through the clear and corrugated veranda roof) is at the centre of a bright white moon-bow.

 

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