There was a threat of rain in the air, enough for me to plan my route close to the shopping area rather than using the more exposed -- but effectively shorter -- maze of paths across country...as long as you didn't get lost, of course. Streets can have mazes, too, as well as woodland rights-of-way.
Indeed, both routes were prone to confusion, some shops changing overnight from busy to empty, rarely the other way, but, sometimes, one sort of shop turned completely into a different sort of shop and, at no time, was empty. The financial recession had brought more than just one way to do a moonlight flit or a roof over your head where someone could offer you a modicum of cash for a treasure trove of gold as well as a few minutes' shelter from the weather.
If the maze of country paths was correctly negotiated, one could be afforded a wickerwork of branches above you to sprinkle the promise of rain in directions of spray around you rather than directly upon you. A threat there, a promise here, depending where there or here were.
But woodland can have a depression, too, as well as streets of shops. I recently noticed a pawnbroker's sign hanging from a tree. No dreams there I thought when it vanished as quickly as I saw it. Or should I say no dreams FULFILLED? There are ALWAYS dreams.
Today, the threat of rain was particularly black-looking in a patch of sky towards the woodland maze, so I was glad I had chosen the street of shops to reach my destination. I could always nip into a charity shop should the threat spread over the urban sprawl where I was now walking. I would have to pretend that I was buying something while the deluge lasted, and I always found it useful to wear a T-shirt bearing the words NO DREAMS on the front of it. It seemed to deter other folk approaching me. Your guess is as good as mine why it should have that effect. In fact, by wearing that T-Shirt, it seemed I could get away with murder, or at least shop lifting, without anyone noticing, or SHOWING that they noticed.
Shop lifting seemed a very positive thing for anyone to do. Lifting shops' spirits, that is. Most shops looked glum these days. Or empty.
I laughed as I imagined a shop suddenly smiling, or just the mannequins in the window, once fashionably stern or trussed by jockstrap holsters, now actually laughing at the window-shoppers outside......
I was interrupted from my day-dreaming by the onset of large splashes of rain upon my bare head. I looked down at my T-Shirt which -- if the so-called cloudburst wasn't just another abortive squirt -- would no doubt soon be a sodden T-Shirt. Still, nobody will look at me. Or if they do, they will look right through me, sexy wet T-Shirt or not.
Nobody could even dream of nice figures, these days. Nor turn good looks into cash. Nor face lifting into a business plan.
Above one visibly bristling horizon, the clouds hung heavy, hung low, hung ripe and pendulous. Nobody really could see the wood for the trees any more. No green shoots for any lost souls who took to the woods. And those who stayed behind just dodged the crossfire and the cheapshot shops.
With my T-Shirt still clinging, I gazed pleadingly into the sky for the gift token of a hope from all those hopes that I knew existed without hopers hoping them.
Maybe someone else is hoping on our behalf ... up there beyond the labyrinth of clouds.
And for hope, please read dream. There is ALWAYS one dream left in even the deepest and longest and darkest sleep.