Clear Sky In The Rai ...

I awoke yesterday to an unfamiliar view.  Having grown accustomed to seeing little more than haze and a few blurry images, I got my first clear look at the scorched hills in the distance.  When the bad weather started I felt anxious and unsettled being confined to an air conditioned room.  Having found things to do and having adjusted to the new norm, I found it strangely difficult yesterday to get myself into gear and out of doors.

As Cookie and I enjoyed the nontoxic air on our morning walk, I eventually won my battle with inertia choosing the Ninja over the Trek.  I could have used the exercise but the motorcycle had not been started for quite some time and it needed the exercise even more than I did.  My mileage hangs at just over 17,000 kilometers, 13,000 of which were done last year.  At this rate I won’t be ready for the 18,000 checkup until sometime after Songkran in mid April, as I will need another six trips to town before reaching that number.  I can’t help but feel that even with the big drop in mileage I had more fun this year because of the trips I took and the sights I saw.  Quality over quantity one might say.

With little traffic on the road and not much to look at, yesterday was more about the ride and getting out of the house.  I ended up at the Mall reading the paper at Starbucks.  My wife was more adventurous and as planned went to Laos yesterday with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend.  Chiang Khong is only fifty kilometers away but neither of us have been over the boarder before.  I didn’t have the time or the interest to find out what I would need to do about my visa to crossover, so I let the girls have some time together.  It is good to see them on speaking terms and laughing together again after a prolonged estrangement.

We had rain last evening for the third day in a row.  After a beautiful but hot day, the sky went dark in the late afternoon.  We were first assaulted by ferocious winds that broke branches and scattered debris everywhere.  As the winds subsided the much needed rain began.  Unlike the previous two days, this was a proper rain, heavy even torrential but short lived.  Still it brought much needed water to our area and may delay the onset of further burning. 

Unless they were able to gather their cassava before the rain hit I doubt the workers there were appreciative of the rain.  On the first day of storm warnings they had bagged everything and the fields were bare.  Yesterday on the way home I noticed they had once again spread the cassava over the drying beds, taking advantage of the clear sunny day.  If their crop was hit by both the wind and the rain, one wonders what the damage might have been.

Today is a cleanup day.  The plants will recover from their losses over time and we will enjoy breathable air for a bit longer.  Such is life, as it bathes us in its infinite variety and unpredictability.

As an afterthought I wanted to share these images of a couple of friends who joined Cookie and me on our morning walk.