When it rains, it pours!

By Emmanuelle

AND how it poured these many a day!

In June and July, the farmers welcomed the grace of rain as it poured, cool and pure, from the skies. Our patch of earth in this part of the world wallowed in the wet, gurgling as it swallowed. It stirred itself to sprout the early seedlings it cuddled too long in its soil. It even roused a shake to receive the first throw of grains.

Usually, by this time, the summer-parched mountains and fields should have shed most yellows and browns, greening light then deep. Buds should be shooting out, like little faces testing the wind, screaming in tiny voices “here we are! Life for the living!”

But, only places lucky and heaven-spared are doing the greening and the rousing and the stirring. These places are few and far between and are probably very sheltered and very high up there.

The prevailing sad situation is that, in these last many a day and in many a place, the cool and the pure manna from the skies had turned to thick mud, moving down fast through mountain faces where there are only a few trees to bar its flow. And these trees are mere hollowed ancients and the very young. The robust ones had been chopped down long ago to make houses and chairs and paper and charcoal . . . to shelter, to seat, to educate and to feed humans who were supposedly the guardians of their roots and trunks.

The mud plus rain waters swallowed the houses, the seats, the papers and the charcoals; and also the humans who foolishly stayed in its path, hoping the waters will sway away and they will be spared. They were not.

The mudwaters, swollen with logs and house parts and human detritus, rushed down streams and rivers, feeding the hungry and angry flood in the lowlands already surging past beyond its flanks.

It is disaster waiting to happen. Humans had been oft-told, oft-warned. Again and again. Year-in, year-out.

It seems nobody listened. Or they heard. Just that, only an ineffectual few moved to halt the disaster waiting to happen. Again and again. Year-in, year-out.

Why cannot we stop chopping down trees? Because cement and wood go together to make and furnish nice houses; who ever heard of cement doors, cement dining tables and cement sofas? Because we need paper and books and other things made from wood, yes? Why cannot we lessen our use of cars, refrigerators, aircons and fossil-fueled electricity that pollute the air and burn out the earth’s protective layers?  Because we need to go places, to freeze food for tomorrow, to enjoy comfort for our toils, to light the dark! Why cannot we reduce and manage our waste so as not to clog our waterways? Because we are too many; our throwable wastes are too much, di ba?!

Simple answers to simple questions. Who will do the rebuttal?

“When it rains, it pours!” Morton the saltmaker who knew more about salt than any of us, made a killing when it chose the saying to be its banner advertisement. Morton did not intend the saying to refer to an actual rain. A rain that pours and pours and pours.

Here, in our patch of earth in this part of the world, when it rains, it does not only pour. It floods, even in places where it should not flood. Like Baguio City. It is more water than we should have. It is water that we cannot drink, or swim in or even pour to cool our hot, dumb, stubborn heads.

And when it leaves, it does not leave us just like that. Anto ka met? Nagawa to met itan? It leaves us with dengue and leptospirosis and diarrhea and other things microscopic. It also leaves us with no houses and lost and missing love ones.

In the final reckoning, the harm is never microscopic at all.

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