The drips coalesced and ran together, luminescent colours warping, streaking images of the passing cityscape. The car slipped through the night like some alien craft across an infinite sheet of pitch. I could hear the rain, barely audible over the hum of the engine. Small drops, trembling at the edge of the window before losing traction and falling into darkness. My own boundaries had faded, my motions automatic. I was consumed within the symphony of the storm. White lights, yellow lights, shifting, streaming, Red. The intersection was empty. In this stillness the fall of the rain seemed impossibly immediate. Endless. Universal. I was suddenly gripped with a fear that the storm would soon pass and I would be left alone in my car, tyres squeaking on renewed asphalt. But for now the drops fell. Green. A few minutes more and I would be at home, feeling the cold sting of the water on my face as I walked to the door. And then…. but now. The lights stretched, the engine growled. Distant thunder. Rain rushed by, flicked away playfully, across the windscreen, surprised in headlights, geometric collections, an unrepeatable instance, lost as soon as realised.
I remember, half a lifetime ago, walking through Dorrigo National Park with my uncle. It began to rain. “So this is a real rainforest.” I said. It was beautiful. The little light that filtered through the canopy collected in shifting, muted beams. The leaves themselves rustled and swayed. The smell of damp earth and the feeling of dead leaves underfoot… and the sound. Every leaf, every piece of bark or undergrowth moved and echoed the rain. True surround sound. The less I held onto my concentration the more I seemed to hear. The wind whipped up a crescendo of drops, pattering high above, and all around. Everything moved together. The beat of the rain was everywhere. And at every pitch. And yet few drops made it down to us. Diverted along the massive trunks and branches, the water added to the softening mud underfoot. We were protected. While the wind and rain whipped above and away and beyond us.