Monday, November 23, 2009

Rained In

In Lianga, local folks are trying to find ways to deal with one of the wettest weeks they had this year. Since last Monday, the weather suddenly turned cold and rainy which seemed for a day or two a welcome change after a short stretch of several hot, sweltering and sunny days. But when one wakes up to overcast skies and wet downpours that never seem to end and this happens day after day for a week or so, even the vaunted charms of long, dreamy, rainy days can wear off very quickly.

As in most small, towns in this part of the world, rainy weather has a damper effect on the tempo of community life. Work schedules are suddenly relaxed and an infectious lethargy descends upon all forms and aspects of human activity. Most people tend to stay at home and travel plans are shelved.

Those with houses along rivers, creeks and flood prone areas start to worry about rising water levels while others vainly try to plug holes in leaking roofs and walls while at the same time blaming themselves for procrastinating on not making essential house repairs and maintenance work during more sunnier and drier times. All worry about long brownouts which tend to be frequent during rainy and windy weather when power lines are most vulnerable to falling trees, flying debris and landslides.

Colds, coughing, asthma and other respiratory illnesses wreck their usual havoc on susceptible local residents who have to endure days of being cooped up together indoors behind closed doors and sealed windows. I, for one, should know. I have been battling a runny nose, clogged sinuses and the occasional fever the past few days.

PAGASA or the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Adminstration has blamed the rainy weather on an active low pressure area some 160 kilometers east of northeastern Mindanao which is also intensifying the effects of the northeast monsoon. Thus much of Mindanao and the Visayas is experiencing cloudy skies and persistent rain the past few days. Meteorologists are closely monitoring the low pressure area because of the possibility that it may develop into (heaven forbid!) a full blown tropical cyclone.

Several weeks ago, sweating and huffing amidst the then unseasonably not weather here in Lianga, I had the temerity to call up by phone a friend in Cebu to rage and rant against the heat. "What I would give," I had blurted out, "for several days of cold, refreshing rain and deliciously cold nights slumbering amidst the pitter-patter of gentle raindrops."

Now that I have had several days of what I had asked for, I am not so keen anymore on wishing for more days of the same thing. Especially when such a wish may end up into a tropical cyclone that can give this part of the country a taste of what Ondoy, Pepeng and Santi did for much of northern Luzon and Metro Manila.

Which proves that there is still much truth in the old saying that warns hasty, would be wishers of "being careful of getting what one wishes for." Too much of something, more particularly in the case of the weather, is, as always, never good at all.

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