I went to the Post Office this morning. Over the last few weeks Oxfordshire has been wilting under the same lowering heatwave that has seared much of the country and, in a clime that’s not used to such extremes, it can be very uncomfortable to live in.
Over the weekend the rain came. At first the drops sizzled and danced on the oven-hot ground, but the rain kept coming and soon the ground ripened and softened to gratefully accept the soothing fall of water on it’s parched surface. Plants, beginning to droop and shrivel, lifted their heads to show new greenery to the world, the trees danced with renewed vigour and tired parents woke up with a little more hope after a peaceful night with no overheated children.
Our town on a Monday morning, especially a rainy one, is a stranger to its weekend self. The market square is barren of people except a few bedraggled commuters forlornly waiting for a bus and mums like me, childminders, grannies and the odd dad whizzing through with a buggy or a fistful of children.
Summer rain is something quite unlike the penetrating winter blast and town was not a cheerless place, merely resting after its busy weekend. I found myself lifting my face to the cool drizzle and appreciating the breeze against my skin. Here in our small town we make eye contact with each other, offer greetings to strangers, start conversations for no reason other than the pleasure of human interaction. Often I get complimented on how cosy my little girl looks in her sling, nestled against my chest with her hand pressed into her chubby little cheek.
It is not unknown for me to read a book when walking along unencumbered by a Houdini-like bolter of a three year old, but today I quietly closed my Kindle and put it away choosing, instead, to savour the rain. Relish the eye contact, the silent nod or murmured ‘Morning’; the glimpse of my daughter’s eyelashes sweeping her cheek as I glance down, the greenish-brown swirl of the river as I walk over the bridge, the feel of the misting rain as it falls on my bare skin, the strength in my legs as I carry myself and my daughter home.