My grandmother used to tell me, “If there’s enough blue sky to make a man’s pair of pants it’s going to be a nice day.” Remembering her wisdom, I look up at the sky searching desperately for even the smallest patch of blue but there is none to be seen. The sky is a bright silver-grey, so thick that the usually glorious sun is humbled to a meagre matte orange ball, desperately searching for a way through with no success. It, too, is a prisoner of the monsoon.
In the distance, dense masses of craggy charcoal drift slowly towards my humble home, threatening in their size and darkness. I lean against my front gate, gazing at them with wonder from the safety of my small front yard. The breeze, gently playing with the loose strands of hair around my face, picks up in strength. I turn my face straight into the wind, neither warm nor cold, and enjoy the sensation of it dancing with my long brown locks. I know this sign well, the announcement of the impending storm. “It’s coming, it’s coming, the rain is coming” it whispers into my ear before it rushes off in another strong gust to warn another.
The light disappears as the darkness descends, as does the rain. At first a gentle patter as a spatter of droplets bounce off the apple green leaves of the trees shading my window. Within seconds the rain is intense, as if God has overturned one massive bucket of never-ending water over my home. After several minutes it eases off before being tipped full-force once again. It continues like this for most of the day and I find myself once again trapped indoors by the monsoon.
There is no way of escaping the confines of the house. Riding a motorbike in this weather is not only unsafe but painful as even the lightest of rain feels like tiny razor blades slicing at my skin. Even if I did escape, where to go? The monsoon winds whip across the sand unforgivably and force angry waves upon the shore. The beach is no place to be. The shopping centre is too far to ride to and I’m loathe to put myself in a position where I am tempted to spend money I don’t really have on my traveller’s budget. The dive boats remain in the safety of the harbour, it is too unsafe for them to fight their way through almost 3 metre waves to their usual dive sites, so no diving.
Instead I reacquaint myself with the doing of nothing, reading, writing, internet browsing, chatting online to friends far away, watching TV. I eat Thai and western food and drink too much beer. I let the tense knots of tiredness from months of hard work unravel with ease around me. And when the persistent little voice calls forth feelings of guilt for the doing of nothing, I soothe its angry, jealous cry with lullabies of rest.
The monsoon will soon pass. This time of rest will pass. For now, I stretch back out on the couch and gratefully listen to the wind playfully toss the trees outside to the rhythmic patter of the falling rain.