I had spent rather too long working out exactly what I would say to a rather oppressive editor in the next email. It was a useless exercise anyway; it was half-past three at night.
But when I eventually got to sleep I dreamed that a horse I was leading got away from me and leapt into the first floor of a Regency town house. For a while I existed in the strange ecotone that lies between dreaming and waking, wondering if my insurance with the British Horse Society would cover the expense of demolishing the house to release the horse.
I was a little more awake now, conscious of a strange noise. Then I was quite a bit more awake and knew it was rain: persistent and soaking: a pleasant a sound to hear in a water-tight bedroom.
Sun plus water equals life. It’s sometimes hard to remember this. We give most of the credit to the sun in England, where the season of growth coincides with the return of the sun. In Zambia, it’s the other way round: growth comes when the sun at last goes behind the clouds and the rains arrive.
Round here we have, until last week, been having lovely weather, otherwise known as drought. This nocturnal drenching was giving life back to parched land: from my bed I could almost hear the earth slurping. The tired earth, my tired brain, both being soothed.
I listened to the rain. I ceased to think about the editor who had inserted into my copy the surprising fact that dodos were seabirds (no wonder they went extinct). I ceased to ponder the actuarial consequences of horses in first-floor drawing-rooms. I felt my vexed mind slowly easing.
Refreshed. Washed clean. The land, the waterways, the plants, the soon-to-be-sleeper. Rain, more rain.