Saturday, July 26, 2008

La Tormenta

(above: image from an colonial-era convent here in Tepoztlan)

It is difficult to describe the experience of being in our room when one of these frequent rainstorms begin.

It is usually in the evening or the dead of night that they come. There are the normal sounds of rain, of course: the pitter-patter on the roof and outside the window, the cracks of lightening visible even through the curtains, the loud cracks of thunder that make you sit up in your bed – the terrifyingly awesome act of nature that is the thunderstorm.

But here, in the room we occupy in this little posada - which, in the daytime, is impossibly beautiful and irrepressibly peaceful - in this little room the experience of these frequent thunderstorms is much nearer to the experience of a thunderstorm you might have, say, in a tent out in the woods. You don´t get wet - at least we haven´t yet - but your sensations are heightened exponentially because there are no heavily insulated walls to muffle the sounds of the lashing winds and the gushing water, and you seriously wonder whether at any moment the walls will simply fall away and you will be unprotected from this torrential downpour. Even though there is not a drop of water in this room I feel cold and clammy and I keep checking myself to make sure I am not wet. Right outside one of our windows there is a drainage area into which the water pours and pours and pours, and it sounds like the water is coming right inside and pouring onto our floor. Of course it is not, but I keep checking because it really does sound that way. And of course the water continues to pour down around the other windows, too, harder and harder, and I do not feel nearly as secure as I did during Midwestern thunderstorms that I experienced from the comfort of my third floor apartment in Chicago or in my parents’ well-insulated home in the Illinois suburbs. Another cannon-crack of thunder that sounds as if the angry sky above the mountains is being ripped apart. Is it the slightness of the shelter or the wildness of the uncontrollable storm that so unnerves me?

A few minutes more, and the storm has passed. I listen to the rumbling growls of thunder grow distant again, and I think about how different it is here. The same incomprehensible Creation, experienced from a radically different angle. Gracias a Dios.

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