It’s raining in New York today—a steady, chilly flurry of fine raindrops that glues piles of sodden leaves to the sidewalks and collects in sloshing gutter-pools. It’s an in-between rain, heavy enough to discourage foot traffic but not so heavy that Sunday errands are completely abandoned.
Sunny days remind me of California—of blue skies and ocean swells and a smog-line on the horizon. Rainy days remind me of the Philippines.
Three and a half years ago I had my first rainy season—my first experience of rain without end, of cataracts drumming down endlessly on aluminum roofs, of trisikad wheels cutting furrows through riverine streets. I shivered through cold bucket baths and spent evenings on the porch of my host family’s home, watching the water pinball down the branches of the neighbor’s rambutan tree. I played Go Fish with Kate and Meryl and Nina while the little ones, Pan-Pan and Pau-Pau and Ann-Ann, tottered around on mud-splattered feet. There was also a game called Popcorn, a slightly more sophisticated version of Duck Duck Goose, and since I was clumsy and slow I was usually the goose.
Later, when I had my own house, I’d awake to the blissful sounds of rain and throw my doors and windows open. I lived on the back alley of my subdivision, and behind my house stretched acres of empty fields—lush, green, raw fields. I had a banana tree whose golden fruit mysteriously vanished while I was at work—its enormous elephant-ear leaves drooped seductively over my fence, attracting scavengers. During the rains I sat in my doorway and watched rivulets streaming from those leaves. Stood under them, dry, feeling the coolness of the bagyo air.
I miss it. I miss it.