By Robert Scott -
I get out when I can.
Today, it is a run. Sunday morning, 6.23. I know. But I am getting old. And sometimes I like to have the place to myself.
In the past sixteen minutes I have seen three people. Plus, two discarded rubber gloves and four face masks. I have started counting.
As I pass below a canopy of large trees, a row either side, my feet pound on earth that is more concrete than parkland. Cracks the shape of lightning have appeared in patches devoid of grass.
It has been the driest April on record. Dry and warm - plague weather. May is heading the same way. We have had some, though when it falls it is just light spray; ‘baby rain’, my partner calls it.
The lack of water has gifted the park a strange soft pale-green glow. Otherworldly. As I scan around, it appears ill, in its last days. Lifeless, abandoned.
Then something changes. A sniff of rain sets a thousand leaves shaking and chattering with excitement, like the buzz of crowds passing through a theatre foyer. The anticipation of a show, meeting old friends, a sociable drink; the olden days. I recognise the misplaced hope. The breeze blows through. The trees calm down. A false alarm.
Talking of showbiz, back in my city-centre tenement I have become the local Gerard Depardieu character - the farmer in Manon des Sources - carrying water to his crops in a drought. I lug watering cans and buckets down from my second floor flat to treat my favourite plants to a drink. I am not a farmer, it is not my livelihood on the line. I am just doing my bit. Trying to keep things going.
I would love the world around me to burst into rich lush tropical life. Spring is ready to go. I am sure. It is beyond overdue.
High northern countries experience a similar edginess when their snow is late. I witnessed it in St Petersburg, Russia, years ago. After weeks of waiting, the first fall eventually came one Friday evening during rush hour. Beautiful thick flakes, heavy on your coat. The city turned white in seconds and the locals breathed a chilly sigh of relief – the old world was still turning, nature hanging on.
I could do with some of that right now.
I know the problem is not just the weather, or the lack of plant life. It is the whole thing, isn’t it? The whole mess the world is in.
If something doesn’t change soon, I don’t know.
Fuck it. I don’t know what I will do.
Robert Scott lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. He has short fiction in several magazines and a couple of anthologies. You can find him on Twitter @RDScott9, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertScottWriter and on his website, https://robertscottwriter.wixsite.com/website.