Thursday, March 10, 2011


You can notice the change in the air when the bus makes its stop. The first stop. This is only ninety minutes or so outside of Baguio, but as you soon as you step down off the bus the air makes its move. Not so much a slap in the face; more of a dunk in the tub, quite sudden and shocking. You aren’t expecting this, even though you’ve been here before. The day always jumps you. Baguio at its best is warm but not hot, the air as fresh and as raw as my Canadian past in the first days of April, spring just being born, still eager and raw. Up there in the mountains, the clouds’ silky wisps kiss the peaks' frozen tips, and the air follows suit, a soft peck on your brow and your neck, refreshing and intimate. The bus is its mirror, a moving chill tomb. Why this has to be so, I always forget, in that roving trek down from the peaks to the valleys. By the time you hit the rest stop, the winding roads are now done, that circuitous descent giving way to flat roads. The air, too, is as smooth and as straight as a line stretching far. Not much character. Hot and thick. The country from here is the tropics in full. Every time I step off that bus to unkink my stiff legs, I’m surprised by the heat. It seems to shout out in its temperate voice: You’re alive, and you can come out of one mood and into another.