Day 53 to Day 60: After Twenty Days Of Rain

Three typhoons just swooped by and we are only starting to recover from twenty days of nonstop rain. I like rain when it is soft and soothing, almost melodic-- the kind of rain that makes you want to eat champorado and wonder about life in wistful strokes. But we saw a different kind of rain: a depressing rain. Nothing ever dried. Our feet were always wet. And our bodies were always at the brink of illness, ready to buckle down after just one more sneeze. What a way to knock all of us off our routines! What a serious, and yet so simple, reality check.

Here are bits and pieces from the three dampest weeks of my life-- an epic surf trip included.

 

53/100 → There's always a looming sense of uncertainty and a tiny, nagging fear each time I surf somewhere new. The spot could be firing waist-high waves and I'd still be rethinking my position and holding back even when a wave looks makeable. It's silly, and more often than not, I end up watching a perfectly good wave roll to shore without me. But all it takes is that redeeming first wave. The spot opens itself to you right after, as if to grant you permission. A channel is revealed, the current understood, the ocean's patterns finally comprehensible.

So maybe the trick is how to get that inaugural wave sooner; how to muster up the courage to take a wipeout-- or sometimes, orchestrate one. It's risk and reward, pain and gain. Always, another grand chance to be brave.

 

54/100 → When it's blown out everywhere and you see this one spot be able to hold the typhoon swell and it's lining up double overhead corduroy again and again, tell me: how can you ever wipe that silly grin off your face?

 

55/100 → It did not stop raining for 48 hours and the tree across our house got struck by lightning. Nica was so scared of the sound of thunder; she scampered around the house looking for a place to duck under and she knocked over the containers we set on the floor to catch dripping rainwater from the ceiling. You were out when it happened, you went to check which stores were open in these conditions and you came home with the ingredients for hot chicken soup. And so we had hot chicken soup right before the power went out. There was nothing else to do except wait it out and hope that the ceiling would stop leaking, or pray that the lightning touched nothing else, as we hugged our scared little dog in the middle of all that wind and all that rain.

We were okay. In fact, we were surprisingly comfortable even without constant electricity-- we were okay despite getting wet constantly, sneezing from the cold here and there-- and we were okay, still, even as we assessed just how much cleaning we had to do after all this wind and all this rain.

The weather reports show two more storms heading our way and instead of worrying, we're thinking of waves. We're thinking of making more hot chicken soup. We're thinking of all that we must weather together and I realize just how good we are at surviving storms. You with your resourcefulness and courage, and me with my patience and quiet resilience. We got this. We're crossing a formerly flooded street, holding hands, and smiling. Because we just won over the weather, whether the storm liked it or not. ♡

 

56/100 → The camera always seems to miss it-- the first sight of that first wave you're about to surf for the first time. You never really know what you're going to get when you first step down from your ride and cross a clearing, or make one, and you finally arrive at the place you've been obsessing about in maps and charts and Google Earth. It exists. And you are finally here, hopeful and willing. It's quiet for a minute and you're starting to think that you got skunked but then you see it-- lines looming in the horizon-- a set!-- and it breaks as if in slow motion, a deliberate show of delicious, a page right out of your favorite surf magazine, a moment laminated in your memory, unforgettable, even if you tried.

But of course you miss the shot; your camera's still in your bag or your back pocket. And your friends are waxing their boards and strapping on leashes. The pictures can wait. For now, you'd rather delight in the relief that waves were given to those who sought. And even if you didn't score, you'd delight in the moment anyway. Because you dared. Because you explored. Because you are a living part of a world in search of stoke.

 

57/100 → 2 broken surfboard noses, 1 dislodged fin, 1 pair of reef boots snatched away by the sea, and countless crunchy whacks to the knee, and thuds to the shin, or cuts from the reef--

It all doesn't seem so bad.

Not after 2 days of unbelievably good surf in a supernatural place where the waves are pretty because of peril, dangerous and desirable, ridiculous but rideable. 

It all doesn't seem so bad, not when she teases and not when she takes. No wonder they call her Heartbreak.

58/100 → Listen, Camille. After a session, never again should you paddle in on a reef shelf. Even when it looks easy, even when you think you can climb on top of it, trust me, you're better off paddling in where there is more sand, less reef. Don't think that you'll make it on that shelf, not even when there are no sets, not even when the water is ankle-deep. The dry sucking current will topple you off, all poise removed, fins at the mercy of rocks and your poor board-handling skills. Because a wave will come when you're halfway into lifting your paddle-beaten body onto said shelf. And you will get pummeled. You will know the exact power of ankle-deep water! So try to avoid situations where you could get grated. You are not made of cheese.

Lastly, when all that is done, write about it so you can laugh at yourself. Laugh hard. These are the silly moments in surfing when you simply have to accept that-- yes, you are a kook-- for ever thinking that you could outsmart the ocean.

59/100 → Alright, rain. You win. Our houses will stay wet, our feet will never dry. And throughout these rainy weeks, we will live with wet clothes, wet floor, wet dog, wet car. The laundry lies defeated. Leaks have multiplied. And don't even get me started on the mosquitoes because, yes, you win.

But our spirits are hard to kill. You must admit that we put up quite a fight. Last night, tents were put up, lights were strung together, and little did we know that it would be the kind of show we wouldn't be able to stop talking about. We had blues, we had funk, we had good ol' rock and roll, all under one rain-battered roof. 

So if you can make music sound this good, and if you can make company feel this warm, dearest, dampest rain, you can win anytime.

 
Sneaky photo by Kuya Roland.

Sneaky photo by Kuya Roland.

60/100 → Sometimes, it's great to just watch people have the time of their lives. When they ask if anyone saw what they did out there, I'll be able to say yes. ♡