A storm is coming. Thunder has been rumbling around the house and in over the fields for fifteen or twenty minutes. The woods have gone still, the pheasants holding their breath.
I go out into the back garden to feel the cool air on my skin. To feel the anticipation in the atmosphere. I want to see, really see, this moment before the storm. I want to taste the impending doom.
The sky is the colour of a starling's wing. The ash trees around the pond shiver, shake themselves down like Labradors. A sudden gust of wind comes up from the west, through the oaks that line the track to the farm, rippling the ivy on their trunks. The bullrushes sway. A single dead leaf flips along, side over side, on the grass. The cows in the far field stand with their heads bowed, ears down, oppressed. The chickens are panicking, the cockerels screeching.
Darkness gathers. The pace of the thunder quickens. Now comes the deluge. I run inside, cold drops slapping on the back of my neck, aware of the pressure under my sternum. Not just the drop in barometric pressure, but the excitement too. I hide in the shadows, watch for the lightning flashes, count the miles it takes for the thunder to arrive until the deafening crackles are overhead.
The gutter over my window must be blocked. Rainwater streams in over the windowsill until I come out of my trance to realise the depth of the puddle building up, and pull the window shut. The ducks are quacking frantically on the pond. Good weather for ducks.