(03 July 2009, Cebu)
Water has always been in continuous movement on, above, and below the surface of the earth. Rain, the pinnacle of this process, has eons ago set the conditions for life to be breathed into our world. Along with this water cycle, I found that parts of my life has strung along with the rhythm’s steeple in time, since childhood until now.
Rain is the condensation of atmospheric water vapor into drops heavy enough to fall, often making it to earth’s surface. The rain was a serving of grace that I relished in my childhood. Bathing in the rain was bliss. There was thrill and excitement in frolicking under the fresh water precipitates. Stomping and splashing on water puddles was a giddy impulse. No pool of rainwater in the yard or in the nearby village road would be left un-stomped and abandoned with half-empty content.
The rain also afforded more time for play. If it rained while we are in school, the classes would stop. Teachers had no way of winning against the muffling sound of rain falling on galvanized iron roofs. Our classrooms had no ceilings then. So they let us be. Some classrooms would be flooded. This would mean additional play after class – everyone has to “push out” the excess water on the floor.
When I was in high school, it seemed to us that the umbrella was a luxury we cannot afford. Sometimes, there was one umbrella at home that serviced all of us. Most of the time there was none. If an umbrella was luxury, a raincoat or a jacket would be opulence. During the rainy season or whenever it rained during the early mornings, my siblings and I were forced to go to school soaking wet most of the time. The rain became an encumbrance we all had to endure.
In going to the jeepney stop, we needed to cross a grassy vacant lot. The well-worn paths would be flooded with ankle-deep water. We would place large stones and pieces of wood blocks to step into when cutting through the lot. Slips do happen on the stones and wood blocks. That would mean spending the day with soppy socks and soaked shoes.
My aunt used to collect old newspapers for her sewing patterns. During the rainy season, they would serve another purpose – rain cover. We needed to walk fast when using them because sometimes dissolved ink would leave gray blotches on our uniforms when they get really soaked.
Waiting for a ride to school when it was raining seemed to be next to torture. There was no shade at the jeepney stop. It was anxiousness, giddiness and pleading prayers rolled into hope for the waiting to be over every time a jeepney approaches. Every vehicle that passed by would mean additional water content for our clothes, bags, socks and shoes. It would also mean increased areas of gray blotches. Despite the strain of rain and the waiting act, I had only been late in high school once.
My shoes then were inexpensive and usually after a year adhesives surrender. For four years of high school, my shoes hosted diverse mold ecosystems. And they did not go unnoticed.
While I was in college, the rain was not that much of a predicament aside from slippery corridor floors. My schedule was more flexible. The vacant lot that we used to cross eventually got fenced. We were forced to take the much longer route to the other jeepney stop. Cycle rickshaws and motor trikes by then have been plying in increasing abundance in our neighborhood.
I slowly found back my innate affection for the rain. I started to enjoy the soothing and comfortable sound of its gushing fall. I find myself always transfixed on watching leaves swayed by the precipitates. If it rained at night the trickling sound, the cool breeze and the occasional stray droplets from the window just above my bed’s headboard would lull me to sleep.
Nowadays, umbrellas, raincoats and shoes are the least of my concerns. When it is raining, I find it more convenient to hail a taxi than wait to catch a jeepney ride. I would love it when it rains at night during weekends for that would mean a good night sleep extending until the late hours of the next morning.
Rain is still the spire of the water cycle. Time and again, water returns to land to fill crevices, run through rivers and streams and infinitesimally lighten the saltiness of the sea. The cycle goes on with our changing perceptions. Carrying on with life I continue to look forward to weaving more adventures with the rain, may it be the rediscovery of the bliss of bathing in it, making pleading prayers of hope or even the comfort of a good night’s sleep.
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