Now that it is wet, now that the Rains (capital letter to denote their lofty presence) are well and truly ensconced, I long for dry high, blue skied days. There aren’t many at this time of year.
And I know of their presence, or not, the moment I open my eyes.
The dawn of clear days is reflected in the lightening western sky which forms my waking view and which blushes as the sun, bald and naked, bounces unabashed above eastern horizons. I can see leaves shivering on tall trees as I lie contemplating my first cup of tea. I can see early shifting shade.
And I can’t hear rain. I can only hear next door’s guinea fowl, rudely stirring chickens to rise with his loudly insistent chatter, ‘Get up! Get up! Get up!’ he demands. Some of his companions are late risers; he’s often still at it come lunchtime. My neighbour, from whom I buy eggs, says he flew in from nowhere and stayed.
Whilst my garden thirsted for rain for weeks, months, now – now that it is here in almost daily deluges – it smiles broadly at newly rinsed blues above and occasional suds of tiny white clouds which foam lightly but have quite disappeared come noon, indiscernible against an Omo-white hot sky.
The water lilies are open wide and generous. We collected them from the dam. I am pleased to see how they thrive in my tiny pond along with schools of tadpoles which will morph as fat ugly toads that frequently find their way into the pool and have to be fished out. The antherium lilies are polished, waxy red and the single rugby ball proportioned bloom on the banana tree sports unfeasibly delicate blossom when examined up close.
We find a baby chameleon amongst the palms. He scurries, fairylight, up and down fronds, which whisper not the smallest protest, trying to escape the prying lens of my camera. His rolling eyes anticipate my every move and he turns on his infinitesimal heels as I zoom in on him. My mother used to tell us, as children, that she had eyes in the back of her head. The belief, for a bit, that she really did proved valuable deterrent to back-seat scrapping. The chameleon rolls his back-of-head eyes at me again and curls his tiny tail and navigates his way gingerly to green obscurity.
And brief respite from drenching showers means we can escape to the sanctuary of the dam. A rare treat in wet months when the ground is permanently sponge-soaked because an impossibly high water table means it has nowhere to go once it has filled the rice paddies and potholes and puddles to overflowing.
The dam waters have risen and the scrub thick and the banks swim in a sea of grasses, their different coloured heads heavy nodding in happy acknowledgement of a dry, lightwinded, merrily propagating day.
And we drive back, into dust strung against a setting sun, a uniquely African veil, thrown up by the tread of bovine hooves or the clatter of home-bound wheels.
And I give the draught excluders a cursory nudge as I head happy to bed.