written by Kathy Torpie
Moisture gathers on my skin as I trudge through the thick, heavy air to the market where Mayas in brightly woven clothes endure the heat as they brush the flies from their produce. The only movement of air is my breath, taken in shallow sips, and only the cicadas flourish. Their loud, screeching chorus of sexual frenzy vibrates in the still air.
There has been no rain for six months. But the promise is in the air, gathering in small pools in the creases beneath my breasts and tickling its way down my belly.
Along the side of the road, a few small shrubs struggle to remain standing, their leaves drooping heavily, covered with the fine dust that is everywhere. Shop owners toss buckets of water onto the footpath, trying – and failing – to keep the dust from entering. The parched hills crackle with uncontrolled bush fires set to clear the almost vertical corn fields of sharp, dry stalks in preparation for planting that will come with the rain. I stop to watch as a thick screen of smoke blows across the steep hills and hungry flames race close behind.
The clouds gather slowly all morning. Deep rumblings herald the approach of the season’s first rain. As the rumblings increase and the clouds darken, my pace quickens, making my way to shelter. When at last it arrives, I know how powerful its entrance will be.
I watch now from my verandah the sudden flashes against darkened sky, the volcanoes in the distance momentarily silhouetted against their brightness. Plump raindrops thrust themselves at the hard dry earth where they leap and dance until they find a crack, an opening in the earth’s parched lips. Everywhere, the land takes deep greedy gulps, spilling over in puddles as it does. Leaves, knocked down by the force of the rain, bounce back up, bobbing joyously.
I step away from the shelter of my verandah, arms open wide, head thrown back, with my mouth open. Spinning in circles, I join the dance. The rain has come. Another season. Another harvest. Another chance at life.
Kathy Torpie is a freelance writer and former resident of Santa Cruz la Laguna. http://kathytorpie.110mb.com
photos: Rudy Girón