It was a breezy Thursday afternoon at Oriel Park when some pals and I decided to disperse and head home before the heavily pregnant clouds above us gave birth to much-needed rain. Not convinced that I would get drenched on the way home, I walked up towards Van Buuren Road with no particular sense of urgency.
By the time I reached the Engen Garage on the corner of Kloof and Van Buuren Road (less than five minutes’ walk from the park) the storm was no longer approaching; it was imminent. Deciding to pick up the pace a little, I turned right into Van Buuren towards the Germiston N3 onramp. The strong winds now lashed tall trees forcing them to expose their silvery green backs.
Just then something magical happened: I stepped out of relative light into a considerably dark tunnel formed by a canopy of oak trees over a stretch of about a kilometre. Suddenly cars were driving past me with bright headlights, presumably making their way home before the downpour. Walking beneath the high ceiling of green foliage was surreal. It somehow felt as if time had been frozen to allow me a moment to take it all in.
By the time I exited the canopy there was a random spit of rain here and there. The spit quickly turned into a drizzle accompanied by relentless winds. Just before the real soaking started, I encountered a lonely looking jacaranda tree. Without any real cover from the wind, I was once again able to witness something quite special, a gentle shower of pastel purple flowers as I hurried along.
Shortly thereafter the bursting clouds were no longer willing to afford us any more time to escape, and so the rain started, sending pedestrians and street corner vendors scrambling for cover. It had been a while since I had walked in the rain, and my generous torso was not about to miraculously disappear so that I could transform into a triathlon athlete and sprint home. I walked as fast as my undefined legs would allow me to, while two or three more nimble-footed gents jogged past me to seek shelter under the N3 highway overpass up ahead.
By the time I reached the overpass I came across a small group of men, clearly stranded by he now persistent rain. A small stream of water was gathering momentum as it creeped along the side of the road in a hasty search for a storm water drain. I don’t live that far away, I thought to myself, so there’s no point in waiting around here. I politely greeted the men who must have been a little confused by my determined short strides, and carried on walking. The rumbling thunder and occasional flashes of lightening were not a deterrent.
Needless to say two blocks away from home my rain jacket was clinging to me for dear life and I was just about swimming in my black takkies. If you’ve ever had to peel your clothing from your body, including socks and underwear, then you will know the extent of my baptism that day. Would I do it again? For that eerie tree canopy and light magenta shower, absolutely!
Tell us: about an experience you have had walking in the rain.
If you enjoyed this article, you might like “Smelly Weather” by Theo Jonker