Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Rain Dancing Days



Watching the rain is one of my life's simple joys. I don't know if this is an addiction or if science already had invented a term for it but I think I personally would make a good case study. This fascination with rain started from the very time I learned to become aware of my environment. I suspect it meant right from the time my mother had me in her womb. She used to say that I was born in the month of September of a fateful year that had far more than the usual share of tropical storms. Perhaps I was a rain dancer in my previous life.

My mother would recall that days before I was born, a powerful typhoon came and wrecked havoc to the coastal town where my parents and older siblings used to live during the '70's. The town was submerged in flood that reached waist-deep in our neighborhood, and up to the roof-tops in some areas. During the height of the storm, the balcony of our house including the stairs leading up to the second floor was detached and swept away by the current. My father had to dive into the raging floodwater with a long rope to tie to the floating balcony and prevent if from drifting away.

To his amazement, my father recalled that a runaway pig had swam side by side with him while he was doing the one-man (plus one-pig) salvage operation. He decided that between the pig and the drifting balcony, the animal is more worth saving since it could drown while the balcony may be retrieved later so my father went after the pig. The bigger surprise was when he found out how good a swimmer the pig was. When my father was beginning to weaken from fighting off the current, he discovered that by holding on to the pig's tail, he can easily keep himself afloat and when the pig finally pulled him to safety, my father really felt he was the one saved instead of the other way around. Then, with a heavy heart he left the animal on its own. The thought of catching the pig for the family's consumption never crossed his mind. It would be so ungrateful, my father felt, to even think of doing such horrible thing to someone who had saved your life. To this day, it is a favorite topic whenever a typhoon comes around, my father swimming side by side with that prodigal pig.

When I was a growing child in that coastal town, my fondest memories of rain include those stormy evenings when I would be tucked in bed with my parents, listening while trying to cover my head with a pillow as wind and rain lashed angrily at our ancestral wooden house. No, I was never afraid. That's one of the lessons that you learn when you are a child, and it's the best thing about having your parents beside you during every storm. I always felt that as long as my parents are with me, nothing bad will ever happen. It's a testament to the kind of caring and loving that my parents showered me with.

I guess having a father who is willing to dive into rampaging floodwaters just to save one part of the house from drifting away gives me that unshakable faith in the absolute dedication of my parents to do the right thing for his family, no matter the dire consequences. That's why, I will always treasure the memories of days past when we would just stay in the house taking comfort in each other's presence while the wrath of a vicious storm is unleashed full force outside.

On the other hand, we would be worried and restless when any member of the family is not yet home during a storm. One of the most enduring memories of my childhood was when in yet another storm battered night, we huddled around a candle light waiting for my father to come home from work, and when finaly he arrived, I was teary-eyed to watch my mother welcome my father with a tight embrace the moment he appeared at the door, and then they kissed. It was a mushy moment alright but I would gladly give up anything if only I could make that moment happen again, and I wouldn't get tired of watching it.

We are taught about love by the examples of our parents, and I can say that that incident was one of the most powerful demonstrations of affection which I had ever seen and which I keep in my heart up to now. In fact I would even say that my propensity to seek love, to value that love, and to give it back in generous amounts would trace it beginnings on such experiences as the one I witnessed at the door on that stormy night.

There is something about the rain that makes you see the true value of the things that you have, and the importance of the people that you have in your life. I guess it's because the rain symbolizes the universal and indomitable force of nature that could take away the things that we value the most in the blink of an eye.

So every time that we walk through the vortex of the latest storm to come into our lives, we are reminded of our vulnerability, we realize that we are far from immune to pain and grief. Yet the silver lining to every rain is when our ability to cope with this indomitable force unmistakably rises to the occasion. We become more steadfast in our faith, we become more earnest in expressing to our loved ones that we love them. We embrace with much more heartfelt emotion, and the more deeply we appreciate the sheer joy of being together, riding out the tempest, and taking strength from each other's company.

I also enjoy the morning after.

We would wake up to a joyous announcement that classes are suspended while outside, it appears as if the entire community has embarked on a fluvial parade, walking on the flood that by then had receded to up to the knees-deep. You would think that these people who endured a night of relentless pounding from the storm and whose houses remain flooded would be a miserable lot but it is wonderful surprise to find too many smiling faces. This is a remarkable characteristic that can be found not only in our poor little town but practically in every part of the country. Truly, the ability to smile in the face of misfortune is one of the most endearing traits of our people You would see crowds wading happily on the flood, and some in fact would actually take a dip, perhaps pretending to be swimming in a pool at some exclusive resorts.

The best part is catching freshwater fish on the flooded streets. When I was a child, the river separating our town from the nearest neighboring town was not yet polluted. Fish and other small animals like crustaceans and a few snakes thrive in that river, and when the river overflows, you will find fish everywhere, jumping out of the drainage, swimming under your feet, getting stuck in the mud, and just appearing where you least expected them, as if by some divine providence, the fish seemed to be offering themselves to be caught and end up on the dinner table. And with some of the fish reaching up to a kilo a piece, it becomes irresistible for many people to take to the water and experience the thrill of catching fish with their bare hands.

We have since left the town and I know the river of my youth is now a dead river, the victim of pollution due to the indiscriminate dumping of waste into the river by the town residents themselves. It is quite sad really but at least I still have memories of a joyous past to look back to and enjoy when I need to be reminded of how life had been good to all of us, then and now, and perhaps long after my rain dancing days are over.

30 comments:

soonergirl said...

Thanks for the comments on my blog! I know how you feel about the rain. There's nothing like a lazy, rainy day. We have alot of those in South Louisiana this time of year. Please feel free to visit my blog anytime. :)

coolingstar9 said...

Hanging on a hyphe..,
Rain makes you think of the pain and joy. The past occurrances make you how you parents' unconditional love.
When I was young, I also like to dance in the water while raining, wow , it was really fun, I could feel the chill.
At that time, my mother always said: " dragon coming from the sky." I thought it was true at that time, actually a big storm that was destroying the roof of many houses.
I enjoy reading your this nice post.
Have a nice day, take care.

Jeff Baker said...

Memories are the gifts of the past and remain as the one exception to looking back... I guess because there really is no looking back, for the memories reside in our hearts. I was moved by your imagery, well illustrated, and I felt familiar emotions resulting from my own memories.

Thanks again my new friend. I have some mysterious connection with you and maybe even your town that came rushing back to my mind from a dream I had a few years back. I will tell you about it someday :)

As with you, rain makes me think and reflect. I am glad that for you, in this instance, you reflected on what matters -- Love.

May this day be your best ever and may you feel that I, even though I am thousands of miles away from your town, have an image of you living the abundant life and smiling all day, every day.
Peace -- jb

"Hanging on a Hyphen" said...

(Maraming salamat sa lahat ng sumagot. Ang inyong mga pahayag ay nagpapalakas ng aking loob na lalong maging mabuting tao at blogger).


Thank you to all those who commented. Your words make me want to become a better person and blogger...

Signe said...

Great read. I grew up around tornadoes and hated them...but if my dad was around, I slept easily. I figured he could stop them if they got too close!

I do love the rain though..especially in winter. A wonderful excuse to make soup and bread!

annie said...

What a great post to read. Thanks for inviting me here again.

In childhood, the things we remember are more significant than the events in our adulthood. Rain is probably the one for you.

In my case, it is not the weather; it is my bed and food!

Alexis said...

You write beautifully. I enjoyed your story very much!

Sayz Lim said...

I love rain, rain can make me feel calm. Nothing can surpass the sound of the raindrop, and the cold weather it brings.

Ingrid said...

First of all, thank you for inviting me to read this post :) It's a great read.. and I must say that you have put a lot of effort in it :)

I have really never been around a tornado, I don't know what a hurricane is if not counting the times when I have only witnessed it on TV!

I don't know I this post and subject just kinda made me think about my life and my childhood, I don't even know why.. I think I'm going crazzzzy.

Anyway, I loved the post, and I will be checking back soon for sure :)
Take care, and sending lots of love your way! :)

Ingrid

chess addict said...

Hi, I was here visiting you. Your blog is a nice one but you post a very long story.

"Hanging on a Hyphen" said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Too bad the length of my post was not to your liking. Sorry I cannot change it to suit your taste. My readers have learned to love it the way it is. Anyway, there are a million blogs out there that post nothing but tidbits so suit yourself. God bless...

Mabel said...

I love the way you express your thoughts! this entry is well-written and I hope you continue to share your lovely writings to the world! :)

coolingstar9 said...

Hangingonahyphen,
Hi, I have a friendship award for you, happy blogging.

Witch Woman said...

beautiful and well written!

KAT said...

I absolutely loved this! It is so well written and I'm glad I found it. I will be back to sample more! Keep up the good work! :)

Shashi Dhar said...

I could identify with each one of the experiences narrated in your write-up.I have always felt rain to be a defensive shelter, the sound and fury drowning all my concerns with an extroverted world, lending me a pretext that excused every man-made delusions.
‘When I was a growing child in that coastal town, my fondest memories of rain include those stormy evenings when I would be tucked in bed with my parents, listening while trying to cover my head with a pillow as wind and rain lashed………’unforgettable moments they are.
You did conjure up universal images of rain… and the day after:);wasn’t that one of my own reflections in the puddle……thank you.

Craig said...

Very lovely stories you got there, i enjoyed reading it...that pig part is cool to :)

Parents will surely do all things just to protect their family.Keep on posting nice content.

Fransiska Ike said...

I used to play under the rain, and glad there are people that share the same interest as mine.

Your post is well written and easily read. Keep up a good work. I like your writing style.

K. Whitton-Williams said...

This is a very nice posting. Your writing is very transforming. . . it takes the readers from where they are to an altogether unique place and time. Very nicely done.

twoblogger said...

The story has given you & family nice life experience. And you have to always remember something positive from it. 'Rain' gave you nice experience, and every experience will growth yourself.

Sebastyne said...

I am such a big fan of your writing - this is not my first time reading, but first time commenting. I usually don't, because it seems to break the flow of the thoughts arising from your writing. Right now I'll make an exception.

I love the rain as well. I have never witnessed a true tropical rain storm, being a child of the snow, but sometimes we get a heavy rain... And I love it so much. It is soothing and exciting at the same time, when you listen to the pounding of the rain drops on your window or roof, flashes breaking up the sky and reminding us of the power of the nature.

k said...

thanks for sharing, i enjoyed reading your posts.

Achyut Telang said...

You have indeed painted a beautiful picture with your words!

skepto said...

The rain refreshes ourselves physically as it drops upon us and cleans our souls as we think and contemplate inside our home as we tend to prevent ourselves from being wet...

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I could relate very well since was a "rain child" like you.

Angela said...

What a beautifully written piece. Thank you for sharing that with us.

andibob said...

beautiful and wonderful written!I'll come back to read all your posts :)

floormodel said...

your stories make me feel like I'm there living it. I'm so glad you linked me to this part, missing out on reading it would have been a shame.

coolingstar9 said...

Hanging on a hyphen,
Hi, this is the third time I come to this wonderful post.
I still enjoy reading it very much.
Best wishes to you.
From coolingstar9

roel said...

ang galing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bring back memories during my childhood days in our town.