Posted tagged ‘storms’

“The sound of the rain needs no translation.”

September 18, 2023

Today is an ugly day, the mirror opposite of yesterday. The morning air is damp-chilly after last night’s rain. The day is dark. On and off rain is predicted. I have no plans, nothing on my dance card, for today, but I’ll give a nod to personal hygiene and take my shower. I may even change my sheets.

The dogs are curled asleep beside each other on the couch. They both love cozy and neither one is fond of the rain. That makes them sensible.

I don’t remember when I started to love the rain. The summer rains were my favorites. I could stay outside and get wet, unless it was a thunder and lightning storm. Winter rains were never gentle, even the slightest rain made me feel cold from my head to my feet when I’d home from school, but I loved finally getting home. I’d put on my flannel pajamas, get comfy in bed and read. I always felt protected by my house. I could hear the rain on the roof and windows, but I was cozy and warm.

When I lived in Ghana, I loved the rainy season. It rained just about very day. The early rains turned the brown trees and grasses to green. The dusty roads disappeared, hardened by the rain. My house and classrooms had tin roofs so the heavy rains muted any sounds. My students read or wrote. At my house, I’d sometimes sit outside protected by the tin awning over my steps and I’d watch the rain. It was mesmerizing. I remember one market day riding my moto to town to shop. I left it, my moto, by one of the market gates. It started to rain but a softer rain so I just kept shopping. When I was finished, I went out the gate and found my moto gone. I heard calling and turned to see the bank guards gesturing to me. They had carried my locked biked across the street to a protected area to keep it dry. Such are Ghanaians.

“By means of water, we give life to everything.”

September 15, 2011

Today is cloudy and damp. Rain is predicted for later and also for tomorrow. Tonight and the next few nights will be in the 40’s. This morning it was 5:30 when I woke, and the day was not quite light. I went for the newspaper and stood in the quiet for a while. Gracie’s backyard light had come on so I knew she was out, but I couldn’t even hear her. It was as if I were the only one.

It is the rainy season in Ghana. I always thought of it as Ghana’s winter as the days are cooler than any other time of year, but the humidity means constant sweating and constant replenishing with water. Ghana now has bottled water, compliments of Coca-Cola. I used to buy water in beer bottles and pick the bottle with the least number of floaties, our pet name for whatever we could see floating in the water. We didn’t care. It was the water we wanted. Now, they also sell plastic water pouches usually carried on trays on the heads of small girls who stand near traffic lights hoping for business. It’s water on the go. I bought one, and the water had a strange taste. I’m not sure it was the pouch or the water. I didn’t do well with that pouch. You have to chew a corner and drink from there or, in my case, drink and dribble. I drank coke with ice. You never could get ice in my day and only two places used to sell cold coke.

It rained while I was in Accra. The rain was almost a gentle mist, and I just kept walking as I always did. Your hair and clothes get a bit damp but not so you mind at all. The rain is a minor inconvenience in Accra and never leaves an impression.

One afternoon in Bolga I was taking a nap when I was awakened by what sounded like a barroom brawl with chairs and tables being thrown about. I ran outside, and the wind was blowing everything. I knew the rain was coming.

I love the rainy season in Bolga. The rain comes with a fierceness, never a gentleness. That afternoon, I stood outside my room waiting for the rain as I knew it was close. It finally came down in sheets with thunder and lightning to add to the dramatic effect. My tin roof made the wonderful sound I remembered from each rain storm. I could never teach during the rain. It was always too loud on the roof. That rain blew sideways, but I was protected and didn’t want to miss any of it. The ground flooded, and the rain made rivulets in the dirt which resembled small, flooded rivers overflowing their banks. I was mesmerized and stood a long while. The rain finally stopped, and I decided to go to the market.

The walk from my hotel became a long one: across the street through the new market, through the new lorry park then through the old market, my market, to the main street. During my walk the rain started again, not as fierce but still with no gentleness. I started to get soaked and asked at a market stall if I could sit under an overhang. The woman said no. She insisted I must come inside out of the rain and she made room for me on her bench. We smiled a bit and I thanked her in Hausa. She smiled again and nodded. A few customers came inside and were taken aback by the wet white woman on the bench, but they waved and smiled and went about their business. When the rain stopped, I thanked the woman again and made my way to the main street. I came out of the market by my old Bolga. I stopped in one of the stores, had a coke and watched Ghana score against Swaziland. Radios used to be the only way to get news, sports and entertainment. Now, televisions bring programs from all over, including the US. My favorite of all the programs was a Nigerian soap opera. I think I watched it at least five or six times, so much I was starting to understand the story line. The Ghanaians love it.

It rained once more when I was in Bolga, on my last night there. It started with the wind then the thunder and lightning and finally the rain. I was having dinner with my students and we moved out of the wind and rain. Later, I thought of the storm as a good-bye gift from Bolga.

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