Strange are the weeks when the days bring rain on a regular cycle. Round about three, four o'clock. Every day. Often a light, sometimes heavy, the rain comes down and does what it does. Slickens things up. Cools things off. Departs an hour later, waving goodbye with its wispy wet fingers and promising to return as soon as it can. I wait for its arrival as one waits for a friend who picks you up without asking.
Relatives are always strange, but 'strange' is also relative. It's only odd because I come from a place where the seasons are textured and tailored to suit everyone's fancy. Don't like snow? Wait four, five months -- you'll get some spring sunshine to melt off your slush. Hate the heat? Be patient, child -- the fall's crimson colours will dot the sky in scatters of vivid small dots, making everything cool, or as much as it can. (Don't believe me that the leaves somehow affect the weather that arrives? That's your pregorative. Me? I trust in the illogic that transcends all our convictions.) Where you are born is where the world sets its standards and your own sense of balance.
What to make of place that has, for me, only two valid seasons? A wet one whose water is sporadic but steady; a dry one whose heat is intense, flawed but not fatal. And up in the mountains, here, in the north of the country, the weather is pleasant, almost cordial in nature. Down south, five hours south, in the heart of Manila, the heat is a jacket that rests on your shoulders. Not the bludgeon-style heat of Tokyo in August; the Philippines' heat will sap your energy, to be sure, but also leave dignity behind as nature's one courtesy. You can still feel like a person in the heat of this capital. I can exist far up here in the country's one north, or shuffle around in that heat but not drop like a dog at the end of a hunt. These seasons perplex me, but not because anything about them is especially complex, or peculiar, or even intrinsic -- weather is weather, wherever you are -- but because my body's own rhythms are jolted, then broken. I knew that time has a way of breaking such standards; until I travelled, I didn't know that distance, too, could punch a little damage.
Invigorating, though. Early October, with shorts and a t-shit. The prospect of the Christmas to come and a sun that's still shining. Something inside me knows that I'm still quickly aging, that the mirror's harsh truth is vivid and valid, but living away from my home, from weather's bored clockwork, provides a tilt to the years that somehow allows my dead youth to revive, then endure.