Lying in bed 4.30, it’s June, the birds have just started to sing, and there’s the swish of rain through the open window, for it’s a warm night in our cold climate, and we seize the nights when we can leave windows open. There’s no wind, just that summerish swish, starting gently, building to … not quite roar – it’s not a deluge – but it would be a drenching rain were we out in it.
Back forty years ago I took myself off up the Rigi, on the north side of Lake Lucerne (it’s that wonderful mountain you see, painted in different shades by Turner, as the paddle steamer chugs out from the Lucerne quayside), and slept rough, just me and my sleeping bag, under the stars. But as last night, the rain came out of a seeming clear sky, and I found some rough shelter. An hour or two later came dawn, still grey over the Rigi, but the cloud higher, and to the far south, over the Bernese Oberland, the sun lighting up the snowfields on the Jungfrau and Eiger, just a thin horizon strip, no blue sky to see, just the mountains, illuminated.
There were no such views from my bedroom window last night. But my memories took me back, and there’s still a sleeping bag in my cupboard, and there could yet be other nights on hard ground with surprises in store, be they meteors or the breaking dawn or something I haven’t yet dreamed of.