Storm

Posted by September Blue Friday, 25 January 2008

I'm house-sitting out in the country, with a stack of books and no TV and a coal fire and assorted birds to look after and a storm that hasn't gone for four days, except (kindly) for long enough to let me get to work and back without getting a faceful of sleet yesterday. Other than that I've stayed inside, and so would you have. The wind is howling like wolves out there, throwing bits of tree around in the rain and sleet. It's the kind of weather that draws you to stand with your face pressed to the window just watching, even though the part of your brain trained to ascribe metaphysical significance to the weather tells you the world's ending.

It's the kind of night Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights:

About midnight, while we still sat up, the storm came rattling over the Heights in full fury. There was a violent wind, as well as thunder, and either one or the other split a tree off at the corner of the building: a huge bough fell across the roof, and knocked down a portion of the east chimney-stack, sending a clatter of stones and soot into the kitchen-fire. We thought a bolt had fallen in the middle of us; and Joseph swung on to his knees, beseeching the Lord to remember the patriarchs Noah and Lot, and, as in former times, spare the righteous, though he smote the ungodly.
Rainstorms in cities and towns don't feel like this. There's too much artificial light, I think, and too many people; you don't get the same sense of being very small in the middle of a big, angry universe. What you get instead is the kind of atmosphere Dylan Thomas describes in 'The Followers':
It was six o'clock on a dingy winter's evening. Thin, dingy rain drizzled past the lighted street lamps. The pavements shone long and yellow. In squeaky galoshes, with mackintosh collars up and bowlers and trilbies weeping, youngish men from the offices bundled home against the thistly wind:
"Night, Mr Macey."
"Going my way, Charlie?"
"Ooh, there's a pig of a night."
"Night, Mr Swan -"
and older men, clinging on to the black, circular birds of their umbrellas, were wafted back up gaslit hills, to safe, hot slippered, weather-proof hearths, and wives called Mother, and old, fond fleabag dogs, and the wireless babbling. [...]
A flat, long girl drifted, snivelling into her hanky, out of a jeweller's shop and slowly pulled the steel shutters down with a hooked pole. She looked, in the grey rain, like she was crying from head to toe.
But this, this is Bronte weather. And although I'm meant to be working on an article, all I want to do is sit by the fire with my arms wrapped around my knees, listening to it.

2 comments

  1. francofou Says:
  2. Lovely.

     
  3. Autumn Song Says:
  4. I love real Bronte weather. It's even better when you can sit indoors in the warmth and watch it.