Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rain, rain, go away

Four days. That's how long it's been raining. On days like this, I often say that it's a good day if you're a duck.... but even the ducks are sick of this weather. They have retired to the shelter of the shed's overhang along with the chickens, roosters, and turkeys.

During those lovely days we had last week -- the middle of March -- I wondered if Winter would make one last vindictive appearance before finally relinquishing its hold on Shamgona. Sure enough. These last few days have been miserably cold and wet. It's amazing how a difference in weather alters this village.

My view while walking to and from school changed. Instead of looking around at the houses and orchards that I pass or watching the groups of students make their way to school, all I see is the wet, muddy road under my feet and a few feet in front of me. The rest of my view is blocked by the purple canopy of my umbrella that I hold at an optimum angle to block the majority of the rain. When I do lift my shelter to peek up the road ahead of me, I see clumps of colored domes that seem to have sprouted black, booted legs. I follow these domes through the gate to the school yard, all the way to the door, where under the protection of the entry-way's roof, the disembodied legs gain the rest of their person. Each umbrella that is lowered reveals a smiling face accompanied with a cheery, "Hello, teacher!"

Despite my hope that the rain would stop before I went out for my run today, it did not. The rain lightened up at least, and was only a drizzle instead of the steady rain that had been the norm for most of the day. Even though I didn't feel like going out in the rain, I went anyway.

There was so much water everywhere. The deep ditches along the sides of the road were full, almost to overflowing. In every yard and hazelnut orchard new lakes appeared where none had been three days ago. Drainage trenches in the orchards disgorged the overflow into the ditches. The puddles in the road had grown in diameter; a few had merged.

As I deftly dodged each puddle, I noticed that the village was quieter than I had seen it in weeks. No one was out. Normally when I run, I pass lots of people in the road -- some walking to one place or another, some just hanging out, some herding up their animals -- I always greet everyone I meet along the way, so I end up saying, "Gamarjobat" about 30 times. Today I said it only once when I greeted the ever-present police. No one else was around. There weren't even many cows in the road. I may have seen 10 -- and I usually pass 70-80 of them on a normal run.

One that I did see reminded me of myself. We were both in the middle of the road -- and with the deserted streets, I had visions of an old-tyme show-down.... that shifted to the running of the bulls..... then morphed to a bull fight. I briefly wished that I had been wearing red to see what the cow would do, although I've run around these cows long enough now to know that no cow in Shamgona would make an effort to charge me regardless of my color-choice. As it was, we were both all black -- me and the cow. As I neared her, the whiteness of her horns protruding from both sides of her head made me think of my blonde hair that was probably sticking out on both sides "horn-like" since it curls up in the most unruly ways in damp weather. She watched me approach, and as I reached out to pat her head on my way by, she side-stepped out of reach and eyed me suspiciously. Maybe she was having similarly ominous visions of me as I approached.

I do like sleeping with the rain pitter-patting on the roof. It has a musical rhythm with crescendos and decrescendos that lull me to sleep. The down-side is that I don't want to get out of bed on rainy days.

Time to let the lullaby do its job.....

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