Since last posting, my super cool and way-to-hard-working sister has been to India and departed. We spent most of her two weeks on the beach at Agonda, South Goa, which I believe I have raved about in previous post(s).
It was great to see Kristin, as we are pretty close but have few chances to meet face to face. It was especially cool to have her come to meet me at the tail-end of my trip - I return to North America next week, and this was a chance to think about and talk through some of the ideas about myself and the world that I have pondered in India, and how they may fit into my new life. This, of course, includes feelings of excitement and fear at the unknown vastness of it all.
On the day after Kristin's departure, I returned to Agonda Beach and immediately walked down to the scorching sand to survey the endless sea stretching to the distant horizon. My adoration of the wonder was rewarded by the spectacle of a lone dolphin in the bay, leaping ecstatically in the air with an abandon that most of us can only dream of. My amphibious friend threw him/herself into the salt-tinged air once, twice, a third and a fourth time.
What a welcome!
Of course the whole day, like a whole life, cannot be made entirely of perfect moments such as this, a fact made clear in the following hours as menacing storm clouds built in the sky that had remained pristine blue for weeks and even months before.
The humid, sticky and dark day that ensued - more reminiscent of Portland at this time of year than my experience of Goa to date - heralded the rapidly approaching end of the tourist season ahead of the monsoon rains of summer. Indeed, the gray afternoon, as beautiful in its own way as the glorious sun that has since reasserted itself, was punctuated by the hammer falls of crews dismantling some of the resort colonies behind me, which are actually torn down and reconstructed every year to escape the wrath of the seasonal winds and rains.
By sundown the tension in the air was palpable, with low rolls of thunder rumbling from the next bay across a sea that was eerily calm.
A child cries in a coco hut nearby and, as if on cue, dogs begin to howl.
A symphony of thunder begins to play directly above while the first fat drops of heavy rain pound on the palm fronds above my head.
The world flashes incandescent as brilliant white light, diffused by low cloud cover, seems to come from every direction at once - a flash photo being shot of everything, from every conceivable direction, at once.
The show has begun! With ferocity that is inconceivably just a foreshadow of the powerful monsoon season to come, the elements unleash themselves on the shore. While most of the flashes are strangely diffuse, the horizon serves a cinema show of electricity, with one, three, and even five bolts slicing the sky from heaven to sea simultaneously.
And I sit entranced as the seemingly inexhaustible fury play before my eyes for minutes and then hours. The elements, of course, ultimately prove to have more stamina than I, and I soon retire, drifting to sleep to the unseeming lullaby of the cataclysm outside my suddenly fragile hut.
Far from ruining a beautiful day, the squall crowns it with awe-inspiring splendour.
And the following morning? Brilliant tropical sun bakes several kilometers of sand, now a shade darker with the influence of torrents of rain absorbed through the night.
I spread my mat on the damp sand and begin to stretch and relax in the warm rays of sun piercing a sky that harbours light, fluffy white clouds that seem another species compared to the wrath of those that closed over us the previous night.
The Morning After
As I sat and wrote this post in my journal that same morning - literally hours after - banana lassi at hand and pen scratching feverishly, hoards of birds were squaking and reeling overhead as evidence of tension that is building once again. Ominously, dark clouds begin to gather yet again, harbingers of the next storm to come...