I look out onto a landscape which is washed grey and streaked with rain. There are wide open fields, trucks passing in the distance, and I can forget for a moment that it’s raining except if I focus on the glass between me and the outside world which is smeared and dripping with raindrops. It is so easy to see only what we want to see, to not see what is in front of us. A shift of perspective and I see cars on the motorway, trees, grass, I can see a sky stuffed with clouds and if I look closely enough I can perceive a slight fuzzing of the image but it’s easy to ignore. Shift my gaze again and I can see blurry streaks on the glass, rounded transparent drops that slick down and slide together, blending and merging into complex patterns. I can’t say which view is the better one.
I like to watch the rain. I like the patterns it makes on sky and surface, it’s rhythmic motion, its drumming sound. I like the way shimmering pools of birdsong emerge, cascading from tree and rooftop; how the world changes its smell and freshness seems to be released from the ground with each drop. I cannot perceive all of these things from behind this glass prison, but I can perceive other things: the way the water interacts with different surfaces, its fluidity, its perpetual motion; and the way it changes the scenery turning the colours darker and the textures less distinct, the preponderance of brollies and raincoats, the way people move or shelter. It is nothing if not interesting and it captures my attention as it once did when I was a child, trapped inside on a rainy day tracing the tracks of raindrops with my tender fingers and hoping and hoping for rainbows.