Bucket List # 37: Live Through A Rainy Season


27°C | °F พฤ. ศ. ส. อา.
ฝนฟ้าคะนอง ฝนฟ้าคะนอง อาจมีพายุ อาจมีพายุ
ลม: เหนือ ที่ 3 กม./ชม.
ความชื้น: 79% 33° 31° 32° 31°

The monthly forecast for Nai Soi, Northern Thailand…

Meteorologists usually begin the season in mid-May; but my Karenni students assured me this is technological miscalculation.  June 1st always ushers in the storm clouds and perpetually sobbing skies; those previous two weeks were merely the opening act.

Chickens, chip packets and plastic bottles can disappear in this torrent of water, which was once a road.

Can you prepare for three months of wet?  For an unending drizzle, or the way 20 minutes of rain turns the dirt road into a veritable Ganges of sludge and rubbish?

So my actions are limited; always carrying an umbrella, and conferring with the locals before walking anywhere.  “Some of the old people, they have a way to know when the rains will come,” my boss told me.  Arthritic knees, or black magic?

“I think….” she glanced out the front door, “it will start in about 30, 35 minutes.”  And it did, right on time.

To reach the school where my boyfriend teaches, I must navigate a narrow, elevated trail through rice paddies; but, now that the season is here, I doubt these earthen paths will uphold my weight.  Already, I have walked them in dubious weather, and nearly lost a few toes to the weedy clutches of the rice plants.

But toes, I suppose, are unimportant compared to the death wrought by these unending downpours.  Such a juxtaposition: that what will bring life to the fields and farmers, must first drown everything in its wake.  This is why, I suspect, my students and staff treat the season as some quasi-mythical deity; reverently locking shutters and measuring the beats between thunder.

“Aren’t you afraid?”  They keep asking me, when the wind shatters around us at night, the power flickers off and we’re left reading by the explosions of lightning.

Rain and clouds obscure the view from our balcony; you can barely glimpse the Buddhist temple’s golden and red spires.

Last week, our Shan-Thai neighbor was killed in the storm.  “Scared to death,” I was told.  No one could detail whether it was electricity shock,  a heart attack from the cymbal-ic thunder, or a menacing Rain God, striking revenge for some long forgotten misdeed.  Whatever the true explanation, the poor gentleman expired in the middle of said rice paddies, taking his humped cow with him.

I will remember his five-day funeral, when I next step out to the shops, or visit my boyfriend.  The celebrations of fertility and life, which I dreamily associated with the season, are not quite what I’m in store for.  There is a harshness, as well, to the re-birthing waters.  And a coldness.  And so, so much sogginess, my flip flops may not last…

The weather I have to look forward to…

Have you lived through a rainy season?  Tell me your best  memories – and methods for survival!

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