I am up at six thirty in the morning sitting in the greenhouse. Middle November, at the end of leaf drop. The sky half dawn, light and dark equal through the fast gray nimbostratus clouds and the storm. The wind is hard from the southeast. The pattern of the gusts and rain creates a shape of its own, harsh like pebbles or hail, then soft, sweeping and blending, retreating.
After a few minutes, quiet. Then more squalls come pelting the house, surging at me passionately, pushing towards my chair, the sound measuring the speed, the size and quantity of the force. The most savage attacks shatter the raindrops against the window. My excitement increases with the intensity of the pounding which almost becomes too fervent, and I am growing restless kept at this high climactic plateau.
Then the pressure suddenly eases, the cloudburst ends. I can see the tall poplars swaying a block away, and instead of the wind given voice and revealed by the rain, instead of its insistent drumming and clattering, I hear it rushing in the bare branches and singing in the crevices and corners of the buildings and the fences around me. A few feet from where I sit, chickadees dive and hang at the feeders, glide with the rhythm of the air, at ease in the swells of the wind.
A small leak in the roof lets an intermittent drip of water fall on the indoor plants. The intrusion keeps a different time than that of the wind and rain outside, measuring how warm and dry and still I am here, with fire in the wood stove, and red and lavender geraniums and impatiens, all the silent warmth of summer collected and protected, safe.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of late fall. In the meantime, listen for the rain.