Trying to write my Claire post today, it was hard to remember what the weather was like back in April.
It’s hot and humid here, with a promise of summer storms. I thought; What I need is a seasons dictionary, like the emotion thesaurus. So today’s post is dedicated to a freewrite on June in all its sticky glory. It is the summer equinox after all.
By the way, I reserve my copyright to the idea of a seasons dictionary, if it doesn’t exist already! Ha ha.
Sticky with life, the hedgerows spill over with nettles and cow parsley, messy and exuberant. Yellow oil seed rape paints every field in luminous colour. The sky, high and hot, is the hue of murky water after a watercolour is finished. Clouds promise rain. Bees buzz in a range of pitches, their busy sound adding to the heat and exhaustion. Trees heavy with leaves, their glory days of spring colour over.
A sense of waiting. Waiting for the storm, humidity rising. Sticky sweat trickling down into the bra and between the shoulder blades. Children hot and cranky or laughing too loudly as they run through the fountains or play in the water.
Dog pants, running slow and heavy-footed. Pheasants call their two-noted cry in the distance while, nearby, the intermittent song of the sparrow, blackbird and thrush fills the silence. The brash beep beep of a reversing tractor cuts through the peace, a reminder that, somewhere, despite the heat, people are working hard. Flies swim and swoop in the heavy air, irritating the skin and blocking the way.
The ground is hard beneath my boots, waiting for the rain. My steps startle a bird and it flies abruptly from the undergrowth, the wing-beats quick and loud in the air. Sheep sit motionless, even their short shorn locks too hot for comfort.
Everywhere abundant life, busy and quiet, eager and waiting, living, growing. Winter a distant memory, but an ever present threat. Grow, now, while there’s sunlight, warmth and water. Grow and keep growing.
The pods hang on the oil seed rape plants. Soon the flowers will blacken and die. The plants will die and yield their crop. The corn is still green. Farmers hope for a better harvest. One not drowned by relentless rain. Thinking the words seems to bring the promised downpour. Heavy drops splat into dry soil & sizzle on hot skin. One drop, two.
Footsteps quicken, heading for home and shelter. The dog wants to stay in the river, in the cool. Home now. Your coat is waterproof, mine is not. That smell of rain, wet dust and the scent of flowers as the drops release their fragrance. A breeze comes with the rain, cooling sticky skin. The rain is fresh. Footsteps slow. Let it rain.
Remember the washing on the line and speed up again.
Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:
Claire drove past the sign and smiled. “At last, I’ve left the country! What a shame it’s only the border from England to Wales, rather than, say, France into Spain.”
The small sign with the red dragon was the only way Claire knew she had crossed into Wales. The road wound on ahead of her, just the same as she had been driving on since leaving the hostel. Welsh countryside stretched around her in a myriad of green hues. Her destination was Brecon, the namesake town of the Brecon Beacons that nestled at their foot. Claire had skimmed through the town’s website before leaving Kington, and had decided it would be the perfect place for lunch.
Before long, Claire could see the spire of the Norman Cathedral heralding her approach into town. She checked her phone: There was just time for a wander before her appointment at the Llangorse Activity Centre.
Claire experimented with the unfamiliar Welsh word, putting her tongue to the roof of her mouth in an attempt to repeat the clu of the Ll sound. After three or four attempts she decided to make sure there was no need to ask for directions.
Gazing around her at the pretty shop fronts and historic buildings that made up Brecon, Claire realised she was trying not to dwell on her afternoon activity.
Come on, Claire, don’t be such a baby. You’ve done this a few times now. It keeps the lovely Jules off your back and provides plenty for the blog in the way of high-adrenalin activity.
She shivered and felt an ache in her tummy, a sensation she realised brought with it a memory of Josh.
Claire closed her eyes, clenched her jaw, and stepped forwards.
“That’s it, Claire. Well done. Try opening your eyes, the view is amazing.” The deep voice ended in a chuckle, as Claire’s face remained scrunched up.
Wind whistled past her face, brushing tendrils of hair away from her sweaty brow. Prising open one eyelid a fraction, Claire looked ahead. Some way beneath her, approaching fast, was a wooden platform with several people standing on it. Behind it she could see the blur of blue that indicated the presence of the lake, and two more wires zagging off to the right and down the hill.
Blood pumped in her ears, blocking out the whoosh of the wind and the cheers of encouragement from below. Despite her closed lids, perhaps through a change in the air, Claire sensed something looming up ahead. Before she could open her eyes, tree branches surrounded her face and she slid to a halt. Hands reached out to unclip her from the wire, before leading her forwards to clip her onto the next one.
Not again. Claire had done one zip wire before, as part of the Tree Trek. One was a challenge, for someone terrified of heights.
“How many have I got left to do?” Claire could hear the wobble in her voice. Get a grip, girl.
“You’re on your third, so you’ve still got a dozen left. Awesome, right?” Claire felt the enthusiasm emanating from the guide in waves, and resisted the urge to push him off the platform to the ground 20 feet below.
Swallowing the metallic taste in her mouth, Claire nodded feebly and managed one more nod when the guide gave the signal to ask if she was ready to go again.
Yes, go on, get it over with.
Scrunching her eyes shut once more, Claire felt the platform fall away behind her, and let gravity do the rest.