The first major, major rain shower came today. According to the news, there was a typhoon named Bebeng battering Bicol Region. Bebeng was the second storm to visit the Philippines this year, an early visit may I say. The rain brought relief from the blistering summer heat, but it also meant the end of summer.
When the rain subsided, I went to my regular afternoon walk. Riding on a motorcycle, I tried to climb the steep…hmmm…earthen ramp, but unfortunately, because it was wet and slippery, the cycle slipped and I fell. My shoulders hurt a little, but there were no injuries what so ever except a bruised self-esteem. I had to cut my walking short because the rain threatened to pour again.
The smell of the parched earth quenched by the rain… Brings back a lot of childhood memories. When I was small, I recall my mother telling me not to go outside because the smell of the wet earth could cause loose bowel movement. She would get my lola’s banyos (coconut oil mixed with herbs prepared by my grandmother) and rub my tummy to keep the cold away. My mother would also tell me to always keep my slippers on especially during the rainy season because worms would enter my stomach through the pores of my feet.
I remember sleeping cuddled between my father and my mother, the warmth of their body keeping the cold away, my father farting while we were inside the blanket…
I had this strange experience one late cloudy afternoon. I strayed from my usual routine, and instead of walking; I rode my motorcycle cruising on “Highway 2000”. The road was closed to heavy vehicles, so, I had the road for my own.
Riding leisurely, I noticed that it was getting dark, but it was too early for sunset. So, I alighted from my bike and observed the sky and the cloud movements. It was amazing. The white clouds were merging with the water filled darker clouds. It’s like the clouds were battling among themselves with the darker forces (clouds) winning. What made the movements of the clouds seemed like Olympian war was the lightning show. I could see (in my imagination) the dark clouds releasing their lightning bolts against the white clouds; the white clouds were fighting back with their own lightning bolts. It’s not difficult to understand why the primitive people thought of the sky as the home of the gods.
I was so enthralled by the show that I forgot that I was in an open field. I was a sitting duck for lightning strike. I once read that when you’re in an open field and you felt your hair standing, it is one sign that lightning is about to strike within your immediate vicinity. Your first defense is to lie face down and pray to God that you will not get hit. (This reminded me of Martin Luther and the reformation.)
How will you know when lightning hit you? If you see flashes of light that means you’re not hit, but if you see darkness that meant you got hit. You’re either unconscious or dead.
I‘m still alive and not a Martin Luther at that…
Mushrooms sprouting, frogs suddenly appearing out of nowhere invading the comfort rooms through the drainage, keeping us awake with their croaks, puddles teeming with tadpoles, grass stalks with snails’ eggs…Some of the sights and sounds that signal the start of the rainy season.