Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Scent Of Summer

In the past week or so, the days came hot and dusty with suddenly cloudy skies followed by cloudbursts of fat, heavy rain.

It may not yet be typical summer weather but one can sense a certain dryness in the air and a familiar warmth in the sea breezes sweeping through Lianga. Summer is definitely coming.

Personally I did not realize how imminent summer was until I took a glance at the calendar and saw February slide into March and immediately realized what was happening. The seasons are changing and I found myself looking forward to it.

The summer months have always had a special place in my heart. As a young boy, it meant at least two whole months of freedom from the drudgery of schoolwork as the summer vacation break leaves the city schools empty and deserted. In my case it meant leaving the dust, heat and bustle of the city and going home to Lianga for weeks of freedom from the stultifying pressures of living and studying in a hectic and harried environment and immerse oneself in the joys and rustic attractions of the coastal paradise that was my hometown.

The sights, feel, sounds and scents of those summers are vividly imprinted in my memories of my childhood. Long, hot days relieved only by the wandering yet cool breezes sweeping in from the Pacific Ocean whose blue-green waters beckoned from the thin, grey line of the horizon beyond the shallow coastal reefs guarding the shores of the town

I remember days with skies of vivid blue unmarred by stray wisps of clouds, the glare and searing heat of a sun gone wild, and the exquisite relief one felt while taking shelter in the occasional shade offered by the number of huge trees that lined some of the streets or in the dark shadows cast by some of the houses and buildings as the afternoons faded into early evening.

I remember also the burning whiplash of the midday sun on my bare back as I jumped into the sea with my brothers and friends to escape the sultry heat and seek comfort in the dark and cool depths of the coastal waters. And the sharp yet clean smell of damp seaweed and briny water that permeates through the houses, streets and alleyways.

Then there are the occasional summer rainstorms which rush in without warning like malevolent phantoms bringing with them very dark, terrifying rainclouds that roll in like a dark carpet over the once clear skies and the fat and heavy rain that falls like there is no tomorrow. Into this deluge we would run screaming with joy and childish exuberance while thunder roared and twisted streaks of lightning flash like beacons across the angry clouds.

The as quickly as it came the storm would pass and suddenly one would be overwhelmed by the perception of a world reborn, a world freshened and cleaned. There is a sense of life on the rebound, a feeling of oneness and unity with existence and the conviction, quickly felt, that all is right again with the world.

This afternoon as I glanced out of the window and watched the outlines of the neighboring houses shimmer and ripple through the haze of the heat of the noonday sun, I smiled to myself and wondered. It may be hot as hell but I know that this precursor of the summer season that is to come can be a harbinger of good things.

There is a lot of magic left in the summer months. All you have to do is find it.

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