Windward in a storm doesn’t denote a direction but simply means outside. Lightning spiders through the almost black sky of a Saturday evening; above the horizon lingers a shred of daylight that makes the masses of clouds and the plumes of rain faintly visible. Behind the clouds, meteors are falling: bright, hopeful streaks of light. Beyond them, there are myriads of stars: cold and silent. Both are now hidden by a thunderstorm that has blanketed this swath of land, claustrophobically painted it black.

The pages of the novel which I’ve been reading for the last hour feel dry and rough under my fingers. The tender smell of ink and paper mingles with the scents of petrichor and geosmin that are wafting through a half-open window. I’m warm and comfortable, sitting in an armchair whose cushions are cushioned by further cushions; out of arm’s reach, there is a cooling cup of oolong tea. Rain is pattering on the roof and against the windows, wind is rustling in the leaves of the trees and bushes, thunder is crackling from time to time. Lamplight of a perfectly warm temperature falls on my book, illuminating it while the rest of the room is shrouded in a semi-darkness that lessens the contrast to the coming night so that my eyes can still perceive the outside as a differentiated picture and not merely as a sheet of light-swallowing graphite.

The rain is hard and plentiful and I wonder about the birds and the bees, the mice and the butterflies, and every wild animal that has neither walls nor a roof to shelter it from the storm, nor central heating to warm it during the night. Lucky are those who can dig a burrow and flee into it, or those small enough to wait out the tempest in the innermost centre of a thicket. How rough this life seems but how elemental, too. Through the window, I can now only see and hear the plant life, the animals are hidden and quiet. But in front of my inner eye there’s the vivid picture a blackbird, cowering on the branch of some bush, with foliage providing a bit of shade from the rain and wind, but by far not enough to keep the blackbird dry and warm. What does this little bird (weighing a mere hundred grams but able to fly) feel: discomfort, boredom, a certain awkward quietude? Does it hope for a quick end to the storm, does it anticipate tomorrow’s breezy sunshine, does it feel a sense of home there in that shrub, similar to the way that storminess, raininess, and windiness make me feel more at home in my rooms than crystalline skies and ultra-white sunshine?