Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Rain in Las Marias

There are patterns and trends to these weather events. The rains roll in from roughly the same direction almost every day this time of the year, between the hours of 1 and 4pm. I'm better able to distinguish a shower from a deluge now as it is starting, though you can never know for sure. Often several pulses of showers signal; downpour imminent. Walk outside and you can feel the storm coming, see the sky darkening and the clouds seething, hear the thunder from afar, watch the lightning across the valleys.

We close the side door to keep water from pooling in the hallway, turn the knobs that tighten white metal hurricane-proof shutters, prepare for the water. Sometimes a false alarm, other times not; it is good to be prepared. You always know when a big one is underway, and there's not much to do but wait it out and enjoy. The heavy rains could last 5 minutes or 50, usually coming and going in spurts. Time slows down. I could be back in Ouagadougou.

Observe the movement of water over land: follow the splashes of individual drops into the cracks and tiny rivulets as they snake into channels with the others, and trace those to the main flood path that courses orange-brown, fast, ugly, down to the nearest creek and on, maybe to the Rio Guaba.

Large drops try in vain to pummel the banana leaves into submission but they persist, providing a bit of shelter to those who seek it. I heed the weather's pull, enjoy the refreshing mist pushed in under the porch roof, and relax. Tropical rain storms cleanse my soul.

Sunrise in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

The sun also rises over the intracoastal waterway in SC. The landscape slowly steadily emerging in this cool morning light. The sky was a rainbow near perfect progression of ROYGBIV from the clouds at the horizon and moving up.

Now everything is getting lighter and brighter, faint rays extend out from some yet-hidden point over the horizon. a few birds greet the morning, and the background insect hum never ceased from last evening's end. A bat flies overhead, and a dragonfly. A near clear blue sky is visible above the striking bands of gray-blue cloud, with red and orange and yellow light in narrow bands above that.

Look around, you realize day breaks in front of your eyes. Look back at the sky, the the light is brighter still. From my perch I can barely make out the teeming mass of life on the surface of the muck, now exposed at low tide, around the stream that winds along the left side of the house and out to the waterway LOOK TO THE SKY!

Great towering cartoonish shapes rise in that band of gray-blue clouds, abstract statues and players ushering in the day. Above them the sky keeps changing, some artist's palate progressing--more light, more faint butter yellow, more white. The deep red orange gone, replaced by softer pastels. Look around, note how much you can see now:

The squadron of dragonflies is evident now, swooping around overhead to eat up the small bugs. The marsh reeds now look green, the oak leaves all visible in the backyard. A big spindly-legged bird with skinny head and long beak stands next to the stream bed motionlessly stalking prey. Two large dark birds glide by silently overhead and pass beyond the tree island nearby.

The show is nearly over; my trip has been a pleasant one. The sun has not actually appeared, but its presence is felt. A fiery chromatic shape burns in the spot where I think she rests.

Here she comes. Streambed slowly fills up. The big stork bird continues its breakfast quest; the dragonflies push onward ever, tiny helicopters on patrol.

There she is! 'Okay, she's coming out now.' There she is, the bright beautiful sun blinding my eyes as she slides into view. Glorious glorious untouchable star that burns ever on for all to see if only they care to look.

The air will soon warm, and then get hot, but the present combination of cool morning air with bright low-on-the-horizon sunlight is exquisite.

Stretch, breathe deep, back to sleep.