For a rainy day

I originally wrote this for a Creative Writing class.*  The weather today and a recent conversation with my sister made it seem appropriate to post it here.

The sky soothes into quiet and Light commences a waltz with Shadow around the sála.  The bamboo chimes begin to move, at first a slow seductive twirl like a dancer’s hips but quickening till the chimes spin way out like a whirling dervish’s skirts.  In the beginning, the rain is all humility and meekness. It’s coming is heralded by small, not gaudy, changes – the patterns running down the window, the spattered mud leaping a few inches up the wall, the banana leaves casually bouncing like a woman’s foot when she crosses her legs.  And the sound!…echoing differently off each wall, as if trying to find the right pitch.  It’s accompanied by the wonderful cool breeze that blows through the windows, making the curtains drum their fingers in rhythm.  Everyone in the room seems to perceive its advent at exactly the same moment, and they hover around the window to watch the nativity progress.

The birth of the rain smells like dust.  I count each tiny bead of water as it falls to the ground with a hollow plop.  But then the plops increase to higher sounds, like marbles dropped in a sink.  The air now smells clean, all the dust being purified from it.  I can’t do anything but lie back on my bed and listen to the sound of the whole jungle surrounding me, drowning in soft pattering drips.  The angel chorus of birds still sing…bursting out in occasional solos, their sopranos balanced by the deep bass of thunder.  All of this to the beat of a million drops, each one hitting its own note and boggling my mind that I am hearing every one of them.

Soon, its still small voice beckons to me between the drops. I rise from my bed and follow it. I hug the wall and slither past my mother.  Then it’s all splashing in puddles and squeezing mud between my toes and getting gloriously, gloriously wet.  The rain trickles down into my eyes and plasters my hair to my head.  The moisture hangs heavy on my eyelashes and transforms the ordinary world into  trickling visions.  The weight of it forces my eyes closed and the vision slides down my cheeks like tears. I look behind me at my footprints in the mud.  I watch as the rain fills them and the shapes are distorted into puddles.  I again think of each individual drop it takes to fill the puddle. As each new drop lands, the puddle itself reaches up, as if begging for more.

I gaze across the valley and watch the approaching wall of grayness, knowing I have only a few moments before I am discovered and my mother calls me inside.  So I race the oncoming bulwark to my favorite tree.  Slipping and sliding all the way, I scramble up the slippery bark, onto my favorite branch, barely beating the barrage of wetness.  It hits me in the face like sopping sheets.  I reach out to stop them, only to discover they slip through my fingers like ghosts and smack me anyway.  The rain swaddles me in its self, making me breathe in its rhythm.  I cannot see past the shroud it has hung on the outermost branches, burying reality.  It is easy to wonder if all the rest was merely a dream.

Just as I get accustomed to this revelation, my house begins to materialize…cloudy at first, as if turned impressionist, but becoming clearer and sharper.  A sense of relieved disappointment fills my chest as the rain welled up in my footprints.  I must go back. The way back is longer and more laborious.  I am forced to pick my feet up high with each step out of the mud, like an ancient Hebrew slave making bricks.  The clothesline guards the border to reality and I watch the rain drops tiptoe to the middle of the line and hesitate until the next one pushes too hard and it slips off into the unknown.  At the back door my mother is already wielding the hose, trying to look condescending, but not quite able to banish the smile from her eyes.  Deep down I recognize her own longing.  I see her mouth form the words “filthy” and “clean up” but can’t hear it above the rain on the tin roof.  With a shake of her head, she commences the ceremonial cleansing which I must endure if I wish to enter the house -first my face, then my arms and legs, and finally my bare feet.  I surrender to her ministrations until the mud swirls down the drain.  Then I shloosh free.  My feet smack against the cool cement floor and I find I must walk carefully or risk slipping.

Once inside, I prefer not to shower, liking the natural feel on my skin.  I return to the cloud of people at the window and join the eager curiosity of witnessing the front yard fill up like a bathtub and guessing which step that afternoon’s rain will climb to….

That is the rain in the Philippines.  Everything else is just drizzle.

*While this is my writing, the original inspiration came from another missionary kid many years ago.  He published it on a MK message board.  If anyone knows who it was, I would love to give him credit.

Tags: , , ,

Posted in Uncategorized 12 years, 8 months ago at 6:30 pm.

Add a comment

Previous Post:   Next Post:

No Replies

Feel free to leave a reply using the form below!

Leave a Reply