I arose yesterday morning at six to the patter of raindrops on the skylight. First September rain! Early this year! Yay!

For some people, rain is just another four letter word. But the warm, fragrant end-of-season showers that break our summer drought are greeted with delight here in our muddy valley. Picking up on the general excitement, our children have been known, in years past, to don their swimsuits and perform a celebratory rain dance, thin heels stamping the yellow grass below gushing downspouts.

The rain refills the cisterns that satisfy our thirsty gardens. It washes away August’s thick yellow dust, brightening every surface. It nudges our valleybottom creek awake, to sleepily murmur her displeasure at finding herself filled with crispy alder leaves, as the first thin trickles of moisture wind their way down her parched trench. Soon she’ll be roaring along, adding her background commentary to all our valley’s going-ons and lulling us to sleep each night.

Rain. Every leaf, flower, fruit, and living creature, including me, breathes a deep sigh of contentment in the clean moisture-laden air. The hawthorn berries, flying under the radar till their rosy little faces were rinsed clean, fairly pop with colour, glowing bright red against a shiny backdrop of wet leaves. The soft dry grass luxuriously soaks in the shallow puddles and begins to blush with green from the roots on up, as it lazily considers a fall growth spurt.

This year’s chickens, some never having seen water falling from the sky in their entire short lives, run confusedly around, wet and bedraggled, relishing this new experience. They will snuggle close together tonight and dry off, no doubt dreaming about the creepy crawly smorgasbord the change in weather is serving up.

The frogs were singing last night for the first time since spring as I drifted off to sleep. It seems that all nature is rejoicing along with me at the end of our dry season.

And this morning? More delight! Fog! Sneaking in overnight on stealthly feet to wrap our valley in mysterious grey shadows. Fog subdues our world. It muffles the barnyard squacks and rumblings and makes the hawthorn berries glow even brighter, as they do their earnest best to brighten the soft gloom.