... and I walked alone in a desolate world of water and mud and wind; the fire of chestnut leaves was strewn carelessly across the glistening ground and conkers smouldered in the wet soil. Dirty blotting-paper clouds, torn and ragged, hung like veils over the sobbing fields. Save for a flurry of starlings, the jackdaws and rooks were the only birds abroad, swimming through the air. The sheep in the meadow turned their back to the whipping wind-driven rain and they hung their heads; and so did I. We both felt the trickle of cold rain on skin.
It was right that the sky rained its heart out for those two days.
There has been so much death in the village recently: The badgers on the low road; the deer by the old chestnuts at the brow of the hill; the nest of pigeon's feathers, with its gash of red, under the weeping ash.
Our summer broke with wind and the wash of rain, and with it the village was touched by the presence of death. News spread from house to house, mouth to mouth, eye to eye. Dog walks became a litany of death. Each day we entered the park with the rising sun and we left it a little quieter because our worlds had become a little quieter.
Some I knew, some I didn't. Those I knew, I knew only a little. A few were expected, but most were sudden. Those of whom I looked forward to meeting in the morning; a comment on the weather, a smile and gone. A wave across the fields, a pat of a dog, a greeting. But now they are gone. I miss them.
Different people respond each in their own way. Some want to know each death-blow in forensic detail, others just talk about the families and friends left behind. Some reminisce, catching smiles amongst the storm of shock and sadness. We learn all those things about their lives that didn't seem to matter when they were alive.
This world weeps rain because it has holes torn from it; the holes of those I knew in passing and who made my world a little different.
And now I hear that the Park Keeper is lying in hospital after a heart attack followed by a stroke. In his front garden, the large mower (he loves lawnmowers) on which he was working stands forlorn, gutted and its pieces spread neatly upon the grass, a few tools patiently waiting for a ready hand to put them back to use. It's missing its heart. His wife cannot comprehend what has happened to him and stands chattering excitedly at the gate or shouting news from the bedroom window. His daughter has grown up in the space of a couple of days. She now holds the keys to the park and, in her youth, has felt the breath of mortality.
And my friend with the Frisbee (who finds it so difficult to talk), on that same night, was also rushed to hospital after he found life a little too hard and a little too cruel to bear. We stand together in the rain, he is like a ghost. He tries to form words, but none come just a jumble of sounds. Not even his dog can make him smile.
It is right that the sky sometimes weeps...