Posts Tagged ‘earth writing’

The Cold of the Rain and the Warmth of a Tree

A Tree that Sheltered Me by Don Alney

The safari was over. The blue of the sky began to fade as light clouds began to gather overhead. My guide and I just about managed to hurry through our light, lunch packets, when suddenly the rain came as a cool surprise. The remarkable fragrance of a first shower of rain on parched earth. It smelled of dry earth suddenly moistened, of limes and clean, clear, mountain springs made of snow water, falling from the glowering sky. Then the raindrops got bigger, colder, and we were obliged to run for the deep shelter of the forest at hand. We leapt over green-moss logs and darted amongst the trees. The forest sprang up in wet murmurs overhead, every leaf ringing and painted fresh with rain water. And suddenly, we reached a hollow tree. It was vast, and we squeezed in, warm and cosy from the falling rain. We stood there a while, the first coldness from the rain causing me to shiver. Standing there with my bearded guide, I listened to the rain, the soft embrace of the world in the velvet clearness of falling water. The whispers in deep grass evoked odours of old, wet wood and leaves that had lain a hundred years, mouldering and sweet. The rain beat hard on the trees for a few minutes longer, and while everything was cold outside, everything was tree-warm and hidden away, inside.

Then as suddenly as it had begun, the rain stopped. As we stepped out my guide stopped, and with a gesture, silently motioned me to listen. It was a moment before the new silence shocked me into an awareness of the ambience beyond my immediate world. I became aware of the suspension of water in all the intricate branches of the trees above. The clouds drifted away to unveil the deep blue sky in great quilted patches. The forest, gently dripping its wetness on us, we stood for a while, silent and motionless. The patter of the raindrops gradually gave way to bird song and animal calls. Very gradually, the jungle reverted to its usual rhythm, taking up the thread of its normal life from the point at which it had been fleetingly interrupted by the rain. I took off my hat and shook the water it had soaked, in a spray that wet my guide and me. We laughed and I followed him back to the tourist lodge.

by Don Alney

If you enjoyed this check out Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

*The title of the piece is a line taken from William Blake’s “Tiger Tiger Burning Bright.”

Don Portrait

Don Alney is a freelance travel writer and photographer, seeking the ‘forever moment.’ Email don d at Check out this stuff here.