There's a skylight at the top of the staircase outside my room. It's domed. Most of the time I forget it's there. There's a ghostly pall of daylight that reaches down the stairs, but the glass is pretty much opaque. Aside from letting in a little more light, it's nothing particularly special. Until it rains.
It has great acoustics, and the drumming patter of rain drops on it has become an unexpected comfort. It's like the sound of rain in a movie. A foley artist special. Even the softest of showers seems more intense. More there. It sometimes wakes me up, if it's heavy enough, and I'll lift myself from my pillow and look towards the stairs and listen before checking and making sure I didn't leave the door open to the wet. If it's raining when I go to bed, it becomes my counting of sheep. Listening to the wee, echoing thuds of thousands of rain drops sends me straight to dreamland. Sometimes too quickly.
I dated a girl, for too short a time, who couldn't sleep without some form of white noise. One of the first nights we shared a bed, she fumbled on her laptop for a few minutes, apologising profusely, looking for streaming sounds of rain or whales or surf. I was fine with it. She was beautiful.
This morning, in the wee hours, I woke to the drums. Or maybe it was a machine gun. A downpour. I lay there in bed and saw that it had woken the cat up too. I listened to those quick thuds as they echoed down the stairs. Behind the sound of the rain howled the wind, and the creaking branches of the willows that stand alongside the river. A before dawn chorus, it raged, and the cat drew close and huddled under my arm. We listened. And just as it had woken me up, it put me back to sleep again.