Rainsong

by Stephanie on January 18, 2010

These feelings come, like inspiration, through the cracks in the quiet of night-time, like spiders that bite when you’re asleep. When I see them trying to stick their spindly legs under the skirting board I stamp my feet and slap my knees and play music to help distract me, as if distraction is all it will take.

The sky has been crackling and sparking all evening. I am supposed to be writing but instead I am thinking about the new year, about sticky days with champagne and sweat and lessons on shattering crystal. About seawater in my jeans at five in the morning, numb fingers and an unexpected kiss. About swimming naked across a river to watch the lightning dance through the cloud-mountains for hours, a full moon high in the sky behind me, above the blue-black and grey silhouettes that make up the midnight world. We sat on a mudpan, a field so flat and wide and dry that the horizon looked an arm’s length away. The sky was alive, but the world was silent. Silence that wasn’t silence. Bush silence: the whir and chirp of the night insects and the semitone interval drop of a boobook. The rain is coming, they murmured. The earth is singing for it.

Music has colour, the same way words have mood. It’s like an extension of the sound, another dimension to the experience. A veil through which you can see the world. A veil just behind your eyes. Tonight’s song is the colour of light through rainwater, and I’m never sure if this is love or sadness, but it’s not so much an ache these days, more of a hum. Not quite disillusionment, but its sister, perhaps. And again, again, this mind of mine, despite all its stretching out, it always seems to circle back to solitude, back to the self, still fascinated by the experience of being alone, of thinking alone, of knowing alone—and this song that I can’t stop playing.

Thunder is the sound that trembling would make, in the hot dark, the sparse ground radiating from a sunken sun. Something is trembling now, and it’s coming towards this house, towards me, a rising crescendo. At 3am, the storm hits. The rain pounds, the sky heaves, and there is so much water. It pours down the window pane, rivers against the trunks of trees, and I am swamped by the sheer weight of the sound, each rivulet singing a memory, splashing against a melody, the ground drinking greedily. It fills my head, drenching my heart, like it may as well be pouring out of the walls around me, that rainsong, over and over and over, skin prickling even now as the music ripples around it, and it’s all I can do to throw my head back and be swept along because simple sounds have never changed the world quite like this. I am submerged in it. I am consumed by it.

And now it’s 4:29am. I’ve hit ‘play’ thirty-eight times tonight. I see bare legs, smooth knees, the dim light of my laptop on the bedsheets, slight black scuff marks from shoeless household wanderings, and I am bone dry but I am swamped.

It’s 4:29am and that’s the first glow of fresh dawn through the bamboo.

It’s 4:29am and the leaves outside are dripping, still.

It’s 4:29am and I am, I am, I am.

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