Collaborating with a Storm
It is dark tonight. The street lights don’t cast their light into the regeneration strip and the massing clouds have obscured the moon and stars, which normally light my way. I am confident on the path from my walks, however tonight I move slowly. The earth below me is radiating the heat of the day and my legs are sticky with sweat.
I reach a flat rocky area about two thirds of the way up a small hill and am met by the sound of bodies bounding away through the scrub ahead. Here is a good spot. I work quickly and automatically, placing my paper beneath whatever is within reach, making a point not to be too careful. It takes less than two minutes before I am retracing my steps. I move easily downhill, only just avoiding a spider hanging from its web right in front of my face.
I get another long walk in before lunch and the first rain starts to fall around 2pm. It is patchy, warm and falling in curtains. I am sitting in my parked car at the top of a hill looking across the regeneration area, trying to identify the hill from the night before. The water carves its way downhill through the rocks and sand as it rushes to lower ground. It carries all manner of debris with it and in minutes is has covered the roads. The desert light filters through the thick clouds in brilliant shades of orange, purple and a deep earthy red. Even through the dust streaked glass of my tinted windshield, it is beautiful.
I return to the rocky flat under the last light of the evening. The storm has passed into the distance, but its thunder still echoes across the flats. I find my paper, which is caked with leaves and mud after being carried away by the flowing water. I gather each sheet in a dark bag and squelch back to my temporary studio. The moon is visible again and its light makes the walk more enjoyable. The road is muddy and glistening.