It has been raining, storming, off and on for days and my head is heavy, fizzing, swimming in the oppressive humidity. Spiders have filled my skull with their sticky webs, catching my thoughts and my words before they are fully formed. I am thoroughly fed up of sitting staring at a screen, wishing the day away in the hope that a better one will come tomorrow.

The rain batters against the window, smearing honeysuckle and plum plumes in a swirl of broken green glass shards that knock for entry.  Sparrows and blackbird fledglings cower in the leafy base of the hedge as I huddle for comfort under an unnecessary blanket.  I cannot see my avian neighbours through the fury of rain but I know they are there and we are waiting together for the storm to pass.

As the beating rhythm of rain and frond subsides into a gentle tapping I heave myself up from my nest on the sofa, a gentle but insistent voice in my ear calling me outside.  I pause by the shoe rack but step out barefoot to feel the warm damp of the concrete step, steaming in the aftermath of the storm … and then there is the blessed, cool green of grass between my toes. I have been too tired to cut it much this year, forced to follow my own advice to let it grow.  Our ancient yellow lawn mower, seemingly indestructible and built to conquer the tough, drought-resistant grasses of South Africa, was brought out once before ‘No mow May’ and once more when June arrived, so my secret garden greets me with the faces of daisies, clover and self-heal, and strokes my feet in thanks as I pass.  The rose arch at the entrance is heavy with sweet blossom above my head and my rose, Gentle Hermione, has crept through the side panels at nose level to levy a toll.  Burying my face in the soft pink velvet I breath deep in tribute and somewhere deep in my head a sticky strand of web detaches.

My garden sparkles around me in the sun, droplets falling from leaf and branch and my eye is caught by a flicker of shining coal black among the roses.  A bumble bee is clinging with one tiny claw to the edge of a leaf in a mesmerising display of acrobatic multi-tasking.  Her long, black tongue curls backwards and forwards across the leaf, hoovering up droplets of rain while her body writhes, legs waving.  I wonder if she is dying, poisoned maybe, but then, eyes zooming in, I see the hairy combs on her legs passing through her soft yellow fur collar, black fuzz of abdomen and hairy white bum.  She is grooming herself, twisting and turning in the air into improbable bee-yoga poses as her claw and questing tongue anchor her to the wet leaf.  I stand for several minutes and watch as more sticky strands unravel unnoticed in my head.  I am lost in a miniature world of giant droplets and warm sunshine.  On the next leaf I spot a miniscule fly, little more than a series of shining black beads with legs, which I would never have seen but for the attention grabbing bee. This fly too is working hard to clear away the clogging water on her body, rubbing her forelegs like a nurse snatching a breath, gathering her thoughts as she washes and washes her hands, then washes them again.  Old advice echoes among the cobwebs, ‘No-one will challenge you for stopping to wash your hands.’

The storm has passed and on the surface all seems calm, and yet now I see activity all around me as insects wipe themselves dry and the birds shake free their wings to return to the skies.  I pick a head of sweet William to take back to my desk and find a small-brown slug wriggling in content on the geodesic dome of fragrant petals. The bee, toilette complete and thirst quenched, buzzes her wings furiously once, twice and, joints loosed and muscles warmed, launches into the sky.  Maybe I’ll see her again later, bumping against the glass of my living room window as she explores the sweet cornucopias of honeysuckle and jasmine.

It is too wet to sit on my bench, so I spend a few minutes drawing in the scents released by the blessed rain, wiggling my toes in the long grass and letting the last few shreds of web dissolve in my mind.  This is a lesson worth relearning as often as is needed:  when I become lost in the webs of gloom and inertia, I need to drop everything and listen to the call of the wild.

What do you do to clear the cobwebs away and shake off the gloom?  Do you have a special place where nature is waiting for you?