It's rained each day since Tuesday. Clouds roll in over the hills, bringing the sky down to the valley floor and a muffling silence to my day. Some days it starts raining after breakfast, sometimes after lunch, enabling some work to be done in the garden before I retreat to the kitchen. Then I stand at the French windows, cup of tea in hand, watching the rain work its magic. Sometimes I stand and watch the rain until my tea goes cold. Splashing into puddles on the terraces; falling off the roof tiles of the outbuildings into gutters and water butts; dropping onto the garden benches and splishing into tiny pools on the tables.The garden responds to this prolonged drenching by swelling into vibrant greenness. The pond gently fills and overflows, slopping over onto the iris and cowslips. The Hostas emerge and unfurl their leaves, offering a canopy to the violets beneath and shelter to the nocturnal snails.Muddy boots were a rare sight this winter; now I'm making up for lost time. The seed sowing is complete, the hardening off almost done, and most of the brassicas already planted out and netted off in long green tunnels. Leeks, shallots and garlic too are all in the ground. The beans are all planted out against their A-frame of pea sticks, each 18" plant ringed in a "top-and-tailed" 2-litre plastic drinks bottle collar to protect against the rabbits. All that remains in the glass house are the squashes and the sweet corn, still a couple of inches high and waiting for the milder, frost-free days to come at the end of the month, and the more delicate annuals and temperamental perennial seedlings. I can afford to relax a little, my sowing and planting on schedule.
But it's the sound of rain falling that brings joy and contentment and peace to my heart. During daylight hours the rains cocoon me, enable me to seek temporary shelter under trees and hedges, at the kitchen steps. Standing under the shade of the parasol yesterday afternoon I sowed another two dozen sweetcorn seeds, the bag of compost and racks of pots laid out across the garden table.
And at night, the sound of rain against the bedroom windows brings a sense of safety as I curl under the duvet and fall to sleep.
"Set me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which have a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned."
From the Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.