My wife and I sat in the car and were torn, the rain wasn’t too bad, whilst up the hill and across a playing field was the forest, and shelter. After a brief conversation, weighing up pros and cons as adults do, we decided to go for it. Almost exactly halfway there towards the top of the steep hill the heavens opened. And I mean someone just unlocked the floodgates. We faced each other, and with heads bowed and eyes squinting through the torrent we quickly considered turning back though either way we would be soaked.
We pressed on.
There was no point in running, instead we just strolled enduring with good nature the pummeling rain drops that had a discernible weight all of their own. The dogs considered that we had lost our minds. The younger one stepped in front of me with a pleading look on his face as if to say “Seriously?” I waved my arm in the direction of the wood and off he ran.
When we got there we joined a cohort of three or four others with their dogs all sheltering dishevelled from the downpour. We were utterly drenched and laughing at the state of us. It’s been years and years since we were so inappropriately dressed, so unprepared for what might happen. Water was streaming down my face from hair that was plastered to my skull. The shirt I was wearing with sleeves rolled to the elbows was sodden. My jeans had rain running out of them and felt cold on my skin. My shoes squelched.
If we’d known I would’ve worn waterproof trousers and jacket and hat. Insulating myself from the elements. But of course this event was by its nature unpredictable. It was Irish weather and not everything can be planned for. We could walk around weighed down and ready for anything. But then we wouldn’t be able to run just for the sake of it. Or stroll in the rain. Or experience the change as blessing.
Then the sun came out, and the heavy grey curtains of the wind-driven clouds parted. And my shirt and jeans seemed to smoke in the heat as if on fire but not consumed. The dogs recovered their equilibrium and ran themselves dry.
The birds started singing again. We noticed then that they had been quiet during the deluge. The blackbird chirrupped enthusiastically relieved no doubt to feel the sun on his dark feathers. Only the wood pigeon belied the conditions. Sounding mournfully like a cautious guardian from our childhoods telling us oo-ooo you should have been more sensible. Stayed inside. Worn the right clothes.