“He wonders how so much water can resist the pull of so much gravity for the time it takes such pregnant clouds to form, he wonders about the moment the rain begins, the turn from forming to falling, that slight, silent pause in the physics of the sky as the critical mass is reached, the hesitation before the first swollen drop hurtles fatly and effortlessly to the ground. He thinks about this, and the rain begins to fall.”
The clouds are heavy and low, your voice the same. This distance between the heaviness and the light, gravity and the heavens was really the other way around. My shallow cries were weak drops of rain against a sea of rolling, billowing sorrows. They are shallow words, attempting to weigh in on something glorious, almost heavenly. I cannot be, say or do the right words. Our lives together, moving deeper and slower, taking on weight themselves. I try to let that sink in.
“And after these first kissed hints there is the full embrace, the wetness of the sky pouring suddenly down upon this street, these houses, this city, falling with a strange quietness at first, gently gathering momentum until suddenly there is a noise like gravel slung at windows and the rain is falling hard, heavy, bouncing off the tarmac with such force that at ground level its hard to tell if the rain is coming up or down”.
The silence against the rain, it stuns or surprises me. It is a shield of unspoken, unspeakable words against the clouds that are unashamed of feeling weighty and needing to let that go. I try to fill that void. I try to be the right things to say. Drenched in wordless thoughts and none are said. But the world speaks. The sea to the clouds. The clouds to the sky. The sky to the rain. The rain to the earth. It echoes over the horizon, praying, crying out for what is unspeakable. I’m humbled by the prayers.
“And the rain falls hard and heavy, changing the colour and texture of the street, polishing every surface to a dark shine, soaking the dust from the air and drowning all other sound so that people can only watch. The rain falls against the boy with sore eyes, leaning out of his upstairs window taking polaroid photographs of it, show after shot without moving the angle or changing the focus, plucking each newborn image from the camera and laying it wetly aside.”
You tell me that we are here, in this. In this heavy heavy heavy lightness, in weighty weight weighty skies. But I’m not jaded, or fed up. I’m lifted. Here on dusty shores, with air that drowns in some sort of sorrow. But in those billowing waves, we are still okay. We are still okay. And this thing, this thing that keeps moving us through our ever-becoming deeper and weightier lives, this thing holds us as this deep running joy -almost like an underlying light. It is like the light that comes into the photograph as we in darkness, wait for it to dry.
“The rain falls, easing, the noise dropping away, light beginning to leak back into the street through thin places in the clouds and the architecture student form number elven presses his face to the glass and looks at the way the light falls through the water, and he thinks about a place where he worked in psring, an office where they had a stack of empty water cooler bottles against the window, and how he would sit and watch the sun mazing its way through the layers of fraction.”
She told me that we wouldn’t know the right words to say. She said we would be the right words. She said we would embody them, the right words, just being there. It got me thinking less and about light and weight and more about body and words. She said, ‘you are, body and words’. Body and words. Body in words. Words in body. Embody.
“As the rain fades away there is stillness and quiet, light flooding rapidly into the street and through windows and open doors, the last few drops falling conspicuously onto an already steaming pavement, there are streams and dribbles and drips from gutters and pipes in various states or disrepair, there is a quietness like a slow exhalation of tension that lasts only a moment before the children move back into the road, leaping into puddles, their wet clothes and hair drying rapidly under the returning heat of the sun”
As the rain subsides, I gather my fears and wind them together into what I am trying to say. It’s all a little hazy. I can’t put my finger on this lightness that runs deep and wraps me up in conviction.
I have said to myself I will let myself be lifted. I will let myself be lifted like rain into clouds. I will let myself be poured out. Though you, the ground, and they, are never satisfied. Though unquenchable, I will let myself be poured.
You and I are light and also depth. You and I are heavy and light. You and I are body and words. And wordless thoughts. And there are many other things we just don’t understand. The rain stops now.
Quotes from ‘if nobody speaks of remarkable things’, by jon mcgregor. bloomsbury publishing, london, 2002.