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First, processional clouds gather and near: silent funeral guests and inutile words. The unapologetic lights-off on the sun, the line where sky begins and clouds end, indistinguishable. All is profoundly, deeply deeply grey.

Second, the air becomes dense and its thickness weighs not everything, but all of it, down. Branches, clouds, lungs. Our fingers touch the moisture we can’t see.

Third, fracas. The rain falls fast, and it continues its stubborn fall for three days. The water gathers and swells the ground, its heaviness carving a path that runs like a river or a sprinter, bending grass and rock alike, splitting all in half.

On the first night of the deluge I took a sleep aid. My thoughts throughout the day made it so that I couldn’t shut off the running dialogue in my head. Despite the drug, I woke to a sound louder than clamorous thunder or pounding rain. The nature reserve outside my window, always quiet and watchful, is now teeming, vibrant, discordant, full of life. Animals can be louder than the rain. The rain has pushed, it has pulled, it has stirred and all but drowned every creature in the reserve.

So loud and persistent, the crowing of frogs, the desperate call of a thousand crows, the clapping crickets, the whining dog, the climbing lizards and their darting eyes, the million ants relentless in their martyred march, and so on. I heard them all.

I rose from my bed each night and I listened to them, each and all. Perhaps it’s as you say, a colossal mating call, a free for all in the reserve. Perhaps it’s a harbinger of what’s to come.  Perhaps they too are afraid of the storm that’s yet to come.

On the fourth day it stopped raining. Our neighborhood streets, despite the powerful sun, remain wet and flooded. Despite the restored sun, the water streams through the sogged mud and the putrid leaves, it still streams, it still drags, it still pulls. And there’s life there. There is life there. I can hear it.

I hear it deeply deeply