24. September 2019

the big barrel

There is this big barrel in the garden. It is surrounded by wonderful flowers that smell as beautiful as summer. In this garden are large, ancient trees whose sprawling branches donate soothing shade. There is a wonderful peace in the garden, and this little patch of earth looks almost like a piece of forest. The dew hangs on the leaves and it smells wonderfully of wild garlic. The barrel has been standing there for as long as I can remember. It is surrounded by moss and the wood is old and rotten. The wood has already darkened and metal frames are holding everything together. Whenever it rains, the barrel fills with water a little more. It does not rain heavily these days, but over time, a high water level has accumulated.

The horizon was clear and blue. There was hardly a cloud in the sky. But then clouds are rising in the distance, they are big dark storm clouds. The wind blows them closer and closer and every now and then a flash is visible. This is a sign to go home, to leave before you get wet. But the barrel is just there, in the middle of the garden.
It starts to drizzle.
And with the first drop, the barrel overflows.

Normally, the barrel would only lose a few drops. Just that the original water level has been reached again. But this barrel is different. The complete contents of it are now bubbling over the edge, and it does not stop nor stop. It runs up to the big round opening at the top, and the flood is unstoppable. The soil all around gets wet and muddy, and the ground can not absorb the water as fast as it runs. Large puddles are formed all around and the soft bottom causes the barrel to start to lean slightly.

And suddenly two feet in big blue rubber boots approach the barrel. With big steps they came through the garden to stop just before the puddles. You can imagine lying on the ground like a camera and now you can see the two boots, part of the legs and otherwise only a yellow rain jacket from behind. It’s a jacket as you know it from movies. Like anglers carrying them, or people living in the north. At least I always imagine these people like that. Long blond strands of hair fall wet from the hood, which reaches far over the head down. You only see the woman from behind and her slender figure under the coat can only be guessed.
She just stands there in her rubber boots. She just lets her arms down and stands in the rain. It’s wet all over, and yet it does not seem like the woman was in a hurry.

After a felt eternity, the woman leans forward and puts her hands on the upper ring of the barrel. There is no sign of her face, and in slow motion, a small drop of water falls from her blond strand into the barrel. There is water everywhere, and yet you can hear  exactly this one drop as it hits the water surface in the barrel. It makes a loud blop noise and the world suddenly seems to stand still. As if she would not breathe anymore while the raindrop has made a little explosion. Nothing moves except the rings in the water, which were triggered by the raindrop falling into it.

When the last ring reaches the edge of the barrel, it suddenly stops raining. There is still no sound. The woman in the yellow raincoat exhales loudly. It is a satisfied sound. Slowly, the woman turns around, but there is still no sign of her face. The hood reaches far over the forehead and through the shadows of the trees, it is impossible to see the fine features of the woman. Without saying a word, the woman turns round. The boots climb over my perspective on the floor and then she is gone.

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