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Summer Rain

I live in a city where you can hear the rain approaching from a distance. I love that sound.

Sometimes it's like knowing a lover is on his way, because he keeps his promises.

Other times, it's like waiting for a god that is not your own. You stand your ground because there is nowhere to run.

I will never forget one stormy night in a hut in Balwang Daan, on the island of Coron. I was there for fieldwork. There was a pause in the rain and I stepped outside to pee. When I switched off my headlamp I was enveloped in darkness. As I stood up I heard heavy movement in the distance. It sounded like a giant was crashing through the jungle from the other end of the island. It sounded like great trees were bowing and falling with every step it took. It was the wind! Every muscle in me wanted to run back inside. But there was a small part of me that wanted to wait and see. I stood facing the direction of that immense sound and willed myself to stay put. It continued crashing through the jungle without pause. It grew louder and louder. I wanted to run away. I wanted to be inside with my companions. My knees were shaking, my heart was pounding. But I had to face this unseen assailant. As it drew near I felt the first breath of that fierce wind, the first large drops of the rain it brought. And then I was engulfed in wind and horizontal sheets of rain. I shakily rejoined the research team and our Tagbanua hosts inside the hut. In the darkness I could keep my exhilaration secret.

Every time I hear rain coming in the distance, I remember that night, that waiting, that fear, that joy. It was one of the best moments of my life. It was a baptism.  

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