I’m currently reading The Cider House Rules by John Irving, and there’s this recurring theme of “waiting and seeing”. The main character, Homer Wells, is an orphan, and knows all about waiting and seeing. This week, I’ve also come to know a lot about waiting and seeing, but perhaps in a different way.
At some point in the middle of last week, it started raining. We’ve had a lot of rain this summer — part of the deal with the La Niña weather system — so when it started and didn’t stop, no one really thought much of it. But then the rain continued into the week-end, and it was unrelenting. Creeks were filling up, the river was rising, and damn levels were climbing steadily. By Sunday, countless streets were flooded, people were evacuating, and many had lost power.
We’ve had a lot of rainy days and rainy weeks this year, and I’ve discovered that it doesn’t take much for everyone to get sick of rainy weather. It must be something about the gloomy grey, and the fact that everything is always wet, and nothing really dries properly because there’s so much moisture in the air.
Of course, it’s all the more wonderful when the clouds disperse and the sun reappears. Oh, we can do laundry again! And our towels will be dry before we use them again!
I took advantage of the good weather to cycle to work yesterday. I made it to work in what I believe to be record time, averaging almost 21km/h. I felt good the whole day, right up until I cut my thumb in the afternoon while trying to cut up some boxes. (It sure is hard trying to keep an injured thumb inactive, especially if it’s on your dominant hand.) It was at about this time that I seriously questioned my decision to not have coffee that day.
Driving home from work in sub-pitter-patter rain that barely qualifies as rain, I glanced at my car dashboard. The fuel efficiency bothers me — I can’t get it down any lower. Mostly because of this traffic, not helped by the rain, as pitiful as it is.
I wonder, “why does this bother me so?”
I’m not driving far, I can afford the petrol, I don’t fill up that often anyway.
But it’s the perceived impact — the impact on a world that’s already dying. And yet, looking at all the cars around me, what difference does it really make?
My actions are a drop in the proverbial ocean — a piddly raindrop on the face of the earth. It’s the corporations that must change! It’s the governments that must enforce change!
Still, it’s not an excuse for inaction.
So what if I’m a raindrop?
Following the cars in front of me, I think how we’re all sheep. Raindrop sheep.
But surely in a herd of sheep, you occasionally get one that breaks away from the group. Don’t you?
Looks like July has become the month of haiku-writing for me. I’m really enjoying this, and it really makes me smile to be able to look back on the haikus and the little memories they contain. I’ve tried the 100 Happy Days Challenge before, and I’ve kept daily gratitude journals before, but I think those things always focussed on the obvious joys (e.g. went to a concert, hung out with a friend, had dinner at this place, watched a movie, had a sleep in, etc)
And some days I had to search for little things to be happy/grateful about, but I also feel like it got repetitive after a while too.
It’s only two weeks into this daily haiku thing, so maybe it’s a bit too early to judge, but it feels like this challenge is making me look outside myself more, to seek wonder more so than happiness. I’m sure there’s a scientific paper somewhere that says wonder is an important feeling/sensation that all people should try to experience as much as possible.
But I think the other thing that sets this apart from other gratitude projects, is that instead of just taking and captioning a photo, or simply recalling every good thing that happened that day — instead of these relatively quick processes, haiku requires you to take inspiration, and then mould that to fit your finite syllables. In this process, you might have to shuffle words around, find alternative ways of describing something, and really focus on the most important aspects that you want to convey.
In short, there’s a lot involved! But it’s still pretty simple, and I maintain that anyone with a basic grasp of language can do it. Continue reading
The day started off blue.
Through the space between the blinds, all I could see was blue sky. It gave promise of a good day. But in the time it took for me to get out of bed and brush my teeth, the clouds gathered and made the world grey again.
Lifting the blinds, glancing out at the sky and the street below, I wondered where the clouds came from. Where did the blue go?
Still, it wasn’t raining yet, and I was determined to get some errands done. I’d had a good sleep-in the day before — a lazy, slumberous day — so I had to make this day productive.
The rain started as I approached the shopping centre. Several people were walking about without umbrellas, and I thought they must’ve been deceived into optimism by the early morning blue sky. A woman sighed in relief as she reached shelter and sat down on a bench.
By the time I was leaving the shopping centre — probably not more than half an hour later — the rain had stopped, and patches of blue sky could be seen once again. The sun shone brightly at my back, and I opened my umbrella so that it might dry before I got home.
The sunshine didn’t last long, though. Soon it was raining again. It has been raining on and off all day. Sometimes it rains softly, in a fine mist, coming and going in a whisper. Other times, the rain falls in a sudden rush — a torrential onslaught that drowns out all other noise. But even this dissipates after a few minutes.
And all day, between the bouts of rain, there have been patches of blue sky — patches of false hope. Even now, I can see mostly blue sky from my window, but the trust has been broken; I dare not hope.
Walking through the rain the other day, I was thinking about the sensory assault one can receive from rain: The sight of it can be daunting or magnificent. The smell and feel of it might be refreshing or dampening to the spirits. And there’s always the sound – rhythmic and relentless.
Now and then, when I ruminate about rain in this way, I’m reminded of a lesson I received in Grade 2. Continue reading