May 1, 2007

Agua de Mayo

It was raining this morning when I woke up. It wasn’t the hard, driving rain, the kind that pounds on the roof. Instead, it was a soft drizzle, as if gently heralding the dawning of May.

I have always loved May. (Of course, I’d rather forget this one May, when I was literally coerced into “Reyna Elenahood,” but that is an altogether different story.) I love the flowers, the showers and the break from the hot days of summer. May is when the garden bursts into a riot of colors, the fields become greener and trees are weighed down by fruits.

Coming from one of the “rainiest” parts of the country, I have also learned to live with the rain. Agua de Mayo—the first rains of May—bring back memories of the old neighborhood, and how we would escape to wade in the puddles and potholes on Gate 2. In college, one of my bonding moments with my classmate Maricar was braving the legendary floods of España, walking from UST to Sta. Mesa in knee-high waters. Because we ended up in the same publications, and probably because we have withstood many other rains, Maricar and I have been best friends since. (Another “rainy” memory was during our initiation into journalism class. Having hurdled the purely-meant-to-intimidate [but otherwise token] tactics of the seniors, we were treated to a welcome program. A much thinner Arnold Clavio did a George Michael. A would-be balladeer rendered his take on Barry Manilow’s “I Made It Through the Rain.” Unfortunately, he never made it past the high notes.)

It was in May that I had one of my most exhilarating experiences ever. We were in a remote island in Negros, in the middle of the endless sea, when the rain started pounding. Suddenly the waters became choppy, and our small banca bobbed up and down, riding the waves. I was—and am—a non-swimmer. But I never did feel a tinge of fear. There I was, in the middle of nowhere, the downpour stinging my skin, and, amazingly, I was utterly at peace. To this day, whenever the pressures of the day would get to me, I conjure images of that great day in May. Suddenly, I am swaying with the waves. I am drifting. I am calm.

No comments: