I was sitting in my room at Tom Collins House this morning gazing out the window - having just discovered I had a plot hole about five miles wide so I had to rewrite a whole section instead of moving forward - when the sunlight disappeared. Rain had been forecast but we all know that doesn't signify much, does it. I wouldn't want to be a weather forecaster. Would you? Talk about a thankless task! Anyway I assumed clouds were passing overhead and went back to work.
Then I heard it. The sweetest sound in a dry land. The first soft kiss of rain on a corrugated iron roof, gentle as a caress. I went out onto the veranda to welcome it. It's been so long since we had any rain and we've just had the driest April on record. I couldn't help it.
"Hello, rain," I said. "I'm pleased you've come."
The drops stuttered. For a horrible moment I wondered if that was it, if the shower had finished, but no, it was only gathering strength to become steady soaking rain.
As it built up kookaburras burst out in a fanfare of laughter - it seemed they too were welcoming the rain. They started in the high branches of a eucalyptus tree just outside the door then moved in a graceful swoop to the very top of the enormous Norfolk pine opposite. I heard them for the first time yesterday afternoon as I was about to leave but they were so high and the sun was so bright I couldn't see them. Today, up so high, they looked like miniatures of themselves, bathing among the top most branches and laughing raucously all the while.
I was surprised - mainly because it is so long since we had rain - at how its scent filled the air. First there was a hint of freshness that turned to the unique aroma of dry wood being doused in water. Then as the rain continued, came the perfume of the wet Australian bush - damp earth, eucalyptus leaves and moist air. Wonderful.
The builders at work on the restoration of Matty Furphy's house have a radio on - its "easy listening" music a counterpoint to the birds all of whom have come out for a noisy bath, the background swish of cars on the wet road and the pat pot pat of raindrops on dry leaves.
The rain lasted about an hour but we need more before it will do much good. The ground is so dry streamlets carried most of it down into the hollow.
And when I got home Pisces was out in the front garden among the parched plants cleaning out the bone dry drain. Not one drop had fallen here.