The monsoon is making a final stand. It knows it is time to leave and it is either hanging on for dear life or trying to remind me that it has complete control of things around here or making a grand exit in a “Remember me, I’ll be back” kind of way. Maybe it’s all three.
It’s cool but not cold. The sky is constantly light silver grey and the rain persistently plays cat and mouse with me. It stops. I come out of hiding only for it to start again. “Gotch ya” it says, sprinkling me with dewy drops of wetness in its shallow victory dance. Yes, the monsoon is in control of when and for how long I spend time outdoors. And for the last few days it has been telling me the same thing. “You are my prisoner. You will not go anywhere and if you try to escape I am going to spit at you with my jagged little tongue making you wish you never ventured outside. Ha ha ha ha ha (evil laugh)” Yes, this is the joys of monsoon.
Not one for conflict, I have become somewhat subservient to the monsoon. It says “Stay inside” and I respond “Sure no problems. Whatever you say Mr Monsoon.” Occasionally my inner rebel attempts to wrestle control and in a defiant gesture I don my yellow poncho and I ride away from home, head held proud and high. But within seconds, the rain makes my plastic rain coat stick to my skin like wet cling wrap and my fingers begin to resemble damp prunes and so I divert my course in favour of buying supplies and returning home, once again.
If I am to be honest, I am pleased that the monsoon is still here. In a world where we rarely do nothing, where we are focused on achieving and doing things that we don’t really want to do but do so out of obligation or because we think we should do them (should , the word from the head and not the heart), the monsoon means I have every reason not to be outdoors, every reason to be confined to home, every reason to do nothing. I don’t even have to justify not doing anything because when you are on a tropical island and it is pouring with rain and your only mode of transport is a motorbike, there really isn’t much you can do.
Each day I wake from a long and peaceful slumber (well not quite peaceful, there is the issue of a constant snorer) and I get out of bed when I am ready to get out of bed, not because I have to go to work or I have something particular to do, just because I have had enough of sleeping and now it is time to do something else. I always, always pour a big glass of cold water Sleeping in the tropics is thirsty work. And I brew some (Italian) coffee. I usually drink the whole pot. Apparently this is bad because it is enough for four people, but in my mind, this is completely acceptable since I have given up my twice daily perfect Melbourne latte.
So, coffee pot by my side, I sit down and find myself asking, “What do you want to do now?” Sometimes the answer comes back “I don’t know." This is the response that comes when I think I should be doing something grandiose but I can’t think of what it should be. Ahhh, there is that word, “should” again. Word of the head and not of the heart. To which I respond (and yes I do often talk to myself, not out of madness but because I like to and it is quite often an interesting conversation) “So, if you did know, what would it be?”
And this is when I find the simplest responses coming back. I want to eat something. I want to read my book. I want to write. I want speak to someone back home. I want to research some volunteer work. I want to figure out a way to help Dopey (my soi’s stray dog). I want to lie here and dream about endless possibilities. I want to lie here and listen to the pitter patter of the rain on the world outside. I want to take photos of flowers and bugs and rain drops. Or even, I want to feel the rain land like little kisses on my face.
This is my il dolce far niente. This is my version of doing nothing when it is wet and stormy outside. Making one small choice at a time. Answering the question “What do you want to do now?” from my heart and not my head. Feeling the sweetness of this slower life.