Finding yourself in a rural area inevitable gives you the experience of getting almost limitless peace of mind you could amass, given the relatively small number of people and vehicles that could break through your repose. Little noise. Lots of fresh air. With a good supply of food and other necessities, it is for me, one ‘panalo’ experience.
But then, the seeming geographical detachment from vital needs such as newspapers (for in our case, we don’t have a television in our house-hideout, he-he) and internet (we are working on the laptop purchase issue, my personal computer being glued to my ‘ancestral’ house) places us at the mercy of totally unknown events that could possibly come to us. And that is exactly what happened when Santi came.
We did not even know there was a storm coming. Not even the fact that we were placed at Public Storm Signal Number 2. Not even the storms’ name. Thanks to some of my partner’s colleagues, we were informed at least a few hours before the predicted landfall of the storm in our province, and into our new little rural abode.
Lights went out at 10. Fluctuated for a few minutes then electricity died out totally. We were now in the midst of a raging storm with a single cellphone light to accompany us (my cellphone have died out days before; I did not bring any charger, nyay) and a single candle stick in reserve.
What word could fit in the attacks of that storm?
I could not help but go outside, to the immense worry of my intimate, and witness and feel the effects. There were those seeming strong trees just outside our gate and fence – mangga, santol, narra – and other ‘lesser’ trees such bananas, papayas, and other bushes all bowing down to the winds brought by Santi. Swayed they go, left to right, the wind whistling in seeming glee. I was dead worried that our roof might tear at any moment, leaving the brittle (ply)wood ceiling prey to the deadly winds. At the same time, I was wishing that my sister has promptly protected my books that are shelved near a weak window.
Saturday came and finally all was clear. And I mean literally. The mighty santol tree on the ground at the side of our house that has been a subject of our horror stories was finally chopped off. It was already being cut into smaller pieces by the time I personally saw it. Partner saw it first. The papaya trees that cover the perimeter of our ground were either fell down or in slanting positions. Good thing no house was substantially destroyed during that rage; the village gossipmongers are now deprived of at least one topic to feast upon.
Finally, mud, trapped flood waters, fallen leaves and branches greeted us as we ply through the streets. Santi may have wreaked havoc, gave us a nightlong experience of hell, but at least all was over by the next day. One thing I only noticed as we talked to neighbors later, that events such as storms give God a free entry to the minds and hearts of the believing (and in some good cases, of the non-believing) people. Either they finally reject the concept of his existence, or withdraw their beliefs, or throw themselves again at the feet of an Almighty Something. Whatever. Human will always be a curious creature.
CHANCE READER! I invite you to place in here a short note if ever you had any experience during Santi’s visit that is worth mentioning (whether it is good or bad).