Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welcome home

It's the first time in about seven years that I've contemplated buying an umbrella. I've gotten used to not needing one, gotten used to the stability in the weather and the dryness in the air, gotten used to a belief that clouds do not equal rain and have become comfortable in the consistency of there being no rain. Lately it's been raining a lot and I'm always caught out. It always seems to happen when I'm too far from my car, or wearing something inappropriate. Why it can't rain when I'm already planning a day inside is beyond me?

On Friday afternoon I stood outside talking to a parent after school when suddenly the sky opened, interrupting our conversation and dropped a motherload on us. We all ran for shelter; children, toddlers, grandpas, parents and teachers - screaming and laughing and commenting on the rain. Then we stood in silence and watched the fat, heavy raindrops blanketing the playground in sheets and sheets of water.

Some children ran into the puddles, stomping their feet and smiling up at the sky while others twirled and danced and laughed. The boys, of course ran for the drain pipes, soaking their legs and arms in the heavy waterfall that rushed down onto them. No one tried to stop them. No one called them back. This was a rare moment we had all shared when we were small but was foreign to this new generation. Let them play. Let them try to catch rain in their mouths. Let them get completely soaked.

The adults smiled and watched and remembered their own Melbournian childhoods, filled with days of unpredictable rain and of not being allowed outside to play, savouring the nostalgia of a forgotten memory, finally unlocked.

These are the first children that will grow up knowing the sound of rain hitting a hot tin roof as they fall asleep. The drought is broken. Welcome to Melbourne.

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