Rain falls and my pale suede boots get wet and water sneaks into my grubby white socks and my mind is racing and can't shut up - heartbreak, work, England - and I barely feel my toes flood cold as I stampede both the past and future at once.
Rain falls and suddenly I am aware of bird noise in the darkening afternoon, hundreds of little beaks and throats warbling in the same key and it's such an unusual sound for January that I crane my neck from underneath my green and white umbrella to see what all the commotion is about.
And there is a giant tree, barren but for hundreds of plump little birds camped among its branches, all moving and talking and singing at once, singing with gusto, not just the bare functionalities most birds could spare on a day deep in January, full of rain.
The birds are leaf-shaped, and as they twitter, the whole tree comes alive as if a summer wind blows through it. In all their tiny voices I hear one word repeated, one exuberant note, over and over again: spring.
And as I stand there stopped fully along the edge of this busy, homeless street, stopped mid-stride, mid-twenties, mid-heartbreak, they rise up all at once, twirling a few rounds of perfectly executed aerial acrobatics, before fluttering off to spread their news to another miserable, busy person, made fortunate for a moment by its hearing.