A number of years ago, I hiked through the North coast under about forty-five minutes of downpour. It was overwhelming. Like the forest, thumping its chest, hollered, “You want rainforest, take rainforest in yuh pueffin! I is rainforest all yuh walking through!”
Well yes. My sister was with me, two friends and their family and no one complained. That rain was intense. My glasses were so wet, sometimes I felt I was swimming in a pool, but it was also powerful and earthly – and cleansing.
On the weekend, Ziya went splashing in Maracas in pouring rain. I thought to myself that it would surely make her tougher in years to come. I could imagine her hiking in the forest in similar downpour, and being totally blasé, more man in calf-deep mud than man-self, ready to bring on the baptism.
Maracas is far from clean like Paria streams, but the elements of earth, wind and water were all there when we arrived, like all the goddesses, Ganga, Gaia, Durga, Oya, Yemaja and more, had started to shake and shout. Between the rain and the ocean, there was an unbelievable amount of water, the atmosphere, from the depths of the sea through the rain and into cumulonimbus miles-high, was thick with condensation, despite intermittent blue skies. Under swollen grey cloud, Zi propelled herself into the ocean like a baby turtle running for safety from the government, without a thought to the wind whipping the waves in all directions.
The first time I had overseen such a soaking, my sister was just a teenager. Now my child wasn’t yet two. Zi didn’t complain either. In fact, until she started to shiver, she was having the best time, like champion, like most children.
So there we were. Mummy, committed to the beach on the weekend, sun or rain. Ziya getting tumbled by high-tide waves. Water and wind goddesses in abundance.
Yay for a friend who held Zi’s hands and splashed with her while I stopped the spade and bucket from rapidly ebbing away. This auntie (I now think of all my friends with “Auntie” before their name, ah have it bad) then held her while I bathed and rubbed Zi down with coconut oil, right at the side of the road, just as the rain stopped and we dried off in the sun. Lucky for me, auntie was an adventurer, up for a good time in any weather.
Of course it cleared up into a beautiful afternoon though the forecast had said tropical downpour. But the beach in the rain contains some good lessons about making the best of a down-pouring situation, experiencing the earth and its elements in all their ecological diversity, and feeling warm inside from good company regardless of how shivery the cold wind makes you feel.
I would have preferred a sunny afternoon, like the weekend before when I lay at the edge of the shore with Zi asleep and breastfeeding on top of me, warm like a basking baby seal. That wasn’t to be, but still I came home proud. Come some day in the future, Zi wil be able to say, “Ay! I know rain in Maracas! I out there since I small!”, and make style like some nature-loving bad-john for whom storm is mere sprinkle and coconut oil feels like the balm for all tempestuous conditions.