The rain kept falling, I walked west along the river. I love light rain. A friend and I were talking about how our books tend to end up in, or narrowly avoid, a post-apocalyptic world, and I think it’s because we both enjoy not seeing another human being for miles around when we want to think. Rain keeps the casual pedestrian indoors. I was wearing my courier bag with 30lbs of weight in it, so I let myself get absorbed by the sounds, smell, and muted sights of the overcast day while trying to find the position that spread the load most evenly.
The ducks were out in force, flying after each other, swimming, or napping on the rocks by the river. A small clan of fierce duck warriors bickered and quacked at each other on the opposite shore, which of course was ridiculous because, well, they’re ducks. How can you possibly take that seriously? They’re the clowns of the animal kingdom, with all the comic/tragic sadism that entails.
I sat down on a bench in a small raised area where the Rhone and Arve river’s meet, the bag clinking on the stone behind me and weight lifting from my shoulders in more ways than one. An older English couple followed me up, but they left after a minute or two of trying to see where the nearest crossing was.
The Arve was green and a little milky like unpolished jade, with twinkling points of light where the sun caught raindrops hitting the fast flowing surface. I put my head on my hands, closed my eyes, and just listened for a while. There were three people – locals – who were also on the point for solace; they mostly sat still, away from each other, and watched the water. A group of kayakers was donning wetsuits and getting into the river, and they were much louder. The rain made a steady patter of white noise, masking the more distant sound of people on the high stone viaduct a few hundred yards downstream.
I opened my eyes and moved on when the rain stopped.