A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.

Posted: August 14, 2010 in Life in the Philippines
Tags: , , ,

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Polite Bay Area rain can be put in its place by simply deploying an umbrella. Seattle and Portland ubiqui-mist can be shrugged off with sufficient dosages of caffeine. But in the Philippines, the rain owns you.

From our perch on a slight rise in Filinvest Heights we see the portly dark clouds congregating to the northeast. The lightning zig-zags down to the peaks once, twice, many times. Thunder–something we’ve forgotten living in California–booms out loud enough to set off car alarms, no empty threat like the heat lightning and thunder we get back in the States. And then it comes.

Across the metal roofs we hear the rain advancing, the drum solo of the skies, and then with a roar and a splash it is upon us. A few fat drops burst onto the balcony ahead of the others, and then their countless brethren pound down upon us. In an instant, the temperature drops from “extremely uncomfortable” to “tolerable,” conversation ten feet apart in the same room gets drowned out, and–safely above floods–we are enveloped in the sound of the exuberant tropical cloudburst.

It rains back home, and people casually click their windshield wipes from Off to Low; it rains here, and birds roost, dogs howl, and humans seek shelter under solid objects. Rain back home generally falls in tidy vertical hyphens; rain in the Philippines slants down in violent diagonal underscores. Rain back home spots shiny cars surfaces; rain here washes dog crap, dead frogs, and medium-size branches from the streets. Rain back home is a spritz from a spray bottle; rain in the Philippines is a water balloon falling on an entire city. Rain back home gently greens the hills and nourishes plants; rain here makes stronger any plant it doesn’t kill by blunt trauma. Rain back home is a footnote during the evening news; rain here is a force of nature–and then like that! It’s gone.

  1. Robin Davis says:

    Amazing! Can you please send just a little of your run-off to New England? We’ve had about one inch of rain all summer.

  2. Terri says:

    Sounds familiar. It’s just like Swaziland, where I grew up. One minute sunshine, next minute downpour, next minute, sunshine. What’s left? Complete and utter destruction–mud, puddles, fallen telephone lines, no electricity, and so on…

  3. Christi Foist says:

    Sounds a like like the rain my folks used to get in Singapore. … Nice description. 🙂

  4. Jennifer Baker says:

    I don’t know which takes more of my breath away; your amazing gift to this cause or your amazing gift from God to be able to literally transplant me in time from my chilly Minnesota living room to the rain soaked streets of the Philippines with every key stroke….your writing is gripping….

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