Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cold Days

There is a winter front finally moving in to our little New Mexico town.  The blustering wind and grey skies naturally take me back to the 'cold' days on my island.

Cold, in Luaniua, would come during the monsoon season, when clouds obscured the sky for weeks on end, and everything was dripping.  It would storm so hard, that rain would drive through the mat walls of our house, soaking the veranda.  Wind would whistle up through the louvered windows and the open slats of our floor.

Wetness was everywhere.  It clung to my bed sheets and pillow, it ran in little rivulets from the overflowing gutters of our house and the church just beyond.  All my clothing grew little black spots of mould, and the sour sweet smell of it was everywhere.

On these days, Mom would heat cans of soup on her Bunsen burner and we'd scarf it down, poured over steaming bowls of rice.  Occasionally, if it was a special day, she'd pull out a few packets of carefully hoarded hot chocolate, and pop up a handful of popcorn kernels. 

Sitting in my corner, lost in a favorite book, I would dip each salty white puff in the fragrant hot chocolate.  Eaten this way, a mug of the dark sweetness could last over an hour.  I would read and slowly eat, while the rain beat staccato overhead and little bursts of mist thrust occasionally at me through the louvres.  It was delightful to feel cold.  To hear the tempest outside but be safe inside, as if I was cheating Nature and she was raging back at me because of it.  Days like these would transport my soul back to America and the warm safety of our family home in the winter time.

But now, as the Northern wind shakes the pine tree behind my house, my heart flies back to the time of safety, simplicity, and popcorn dipped in hot chocolate.

The wind blows south, the wind blows north.
Around and around and around it blows,
blowing this way, then that—the whirling, erratic wind.
All the rivers flow into the sea,
but the sea never fills up.
The rivers keep flowing to the same old place,
and then start all over and do it again.
~from The Message

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