We had a thunderstorm yesterday following heavy rain. The sky went dark and the air grew heavy. It started with a distant rumble; so fleeting the children missed it. But it grew louder. At first Emily was nervous, but she soon got excited waiting for the next rumble. She made me laugh when she asked if the sky was hungry.
One of the most memorable thunderstorms for me was a few years ago. It started while I was digging in the garden and I remember big, fat, heavy drops of warm rain falling onto the soil covering my bare feet with mud. The grass was warm and soggy underfoot and the garden smelled so alive. I carried on, despite the rain until it grew too dark. My (then little) boy, Toby, was fast asleep in bed so I did what I love to do in thunderstorms – have a bath. I love being in the water with faint candlelight, listening to the rain, waiting for the room to light up with lightning; the almost childlike feeling of being wrapped up safe and warm in the water, hearing the thunder crack open the sky.
Maybe it was the thunder that woke up our ears yesterday.
After it ended the sky turned blue and the sun shone, so we went for a walk through Chester.
The streets were alive with music! Every corner we turned there was a busker – it was wonderful.
The first was a young boy, no older than eleven or so. Dressed like a little rock star he sang his heart out while playing the electric guitar.
Emily adores music, always has. Even while I was pregnant with her she would kick her legs, as if she wanted to get out to hear things better. The sound of a drum would send her wild! So yesterday she was in her element with all of these singers and musicians.
As we walked through the streets, one sound faded into another, some music we knew, some we didn’t. We could have stayed all day, listening, just being still, and watching people as they sped past or, in Emily’s case, having a little dance. It always surprises me when people just walk by, not even hearing, glued to one gadget or another.
The day began to wind down, buskers packing away; chairs, tables and shop signs disappearing behind closing, darkened doors.
Emily by this point was exhausted and wanted an “uppy” as her little feet were sleepy so we began to walk back to the car. Toby said he was sad the music was gone.
We walked along the now quiet rows in silence. Then we heard the sound of drumming. I think it was coming from a new age shop where we buy incense. Just soft, subtle drumming, like a heartbeat.
After all of the noise, hustle and bustle of the city streets, it was just us, Emily in my arms, her head on my shoulder and the gentle, rhythmic beat of a drum.
One of my favourite things about having children is learning to see things through their eyes; hear things through their ears – a new perspective, almost like experiencing things for the first time all over again. It felt wonderful that, after the whirlwind of a day, Emily wanted to be in my arms, curled against me to that familiar sound of the drum. Like a heartbeat.