Friday, November 25, 2005

Every Pelting River made Proud

The experience

We had our own Niagra Falls within seconds of it starting to rain: The guttering running the 20 meter length of barn roof was overflowing.

And I mean flowing - a solid, metalic sheet of water heaved itself off the roof and plunged onto the cobbles below. – I've lived on and off in the village for several years now and I'd never seen anything like it.

For well over half-an-hour the downpour hammered everything.

The yard was under several centemetres of water. Drainage was through the barn – soaking the bottom of the stored hay.

The tell-tale sound of flowing water signelled the road down the hill outside the main entrance had turned into a torrent – normally this only happenes in the worst of winter, when the ground is frozen – and rarely with such intensity; never for so long.

Plum and walnut trees seemed pressed down. Goodness knows where the birds had gone – they couldn't fly in this.

It was not dark exactly – the rain was light – but you only saw the rain – and how it was pushing against everything.

Inside, the chimney soon ran with water – the plaster was stained and I had to put down sponges and cloths to try to absorb some of the flow.

I moved the small icon I had bought in a flea market in Moscow, and the fine Chinese statue from Shanghai, off the mantle piece. A few old letters had already soaked through and were sticking.

I could only move things out of the way of the ever increasind drips and dribbles: The roof, not in the greatest of states, was incapable of holding out rain under this pressure: At one point, quite frankly, it seemed to me as if it had given up trying.

Back on the veranda the tiles were seaping. I saw one of the local house snakes glide up and into the summer kitchen – wether it was escaping the water or because it had scented a mouse escaping the water, I couldn’t tell – but at that moment any living thing I could attach an atom of sympathy to was a welcome sight.

There was nothing I could do: Whatever damage there was, there would be.

But damage was the wrong word – this was an unfocused, complete and all encompassing force – pressing squeezing, shifting – but not total. You knew it could do a lot more.

It was unmotivated, aimless, inpersonal.

One element – water – against … what?

Nature itself?

No comments: