Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?


Raindrops keep fallin on my head

March 11, 2007


What does the rain sound like in Zaruma on a Sunday afternoon?


It sounds like many things.  First there is a general muffled roar that creeps over the green-carpeted valleys and ridge tops before it reaches this tiny city haphazardly perched on the lower slopes of the Andes.  The sky darkens like a bad mood from bright blue and cottonball white to gray then purple then to the color of a day old bruise.  Leaves of the trees bend and flutter in the first falling drops.   The water begins to trickle.  Off of roofs.  Off of concrete and brick streets.   Over metal grates in the roadway.  The tempo increases, the rhythm strengthens, and the sky touches the Earth with a billion wet fingers every second.   Sheets of liquid soar over bumps in the steepness that is the road, turning a pothole into a furious cataract, brown or red with the sediment and clay that bleeds from the mountain's many wounds.   Raging torrents jostle and crash into concrete embankments and around sweeping corners as they race to the valley floor three thousand feet below, where they swell the river heading to Peru and the Pacific Ocean.   Walking the impossible twists of this city in the rain is like privately screening a percussion group's latest masterpiece.  Machine gun sputters bounce from the plastic domes of cisterns.   Warm splats sound off from the moss and lichen-drenched clay tile roofs of the older buildings downtown.  Muffled wet thuds echo from the fiberglass ruffles like the one over my bed.   Passing the newer homes with their corrugated sheet metal tin can tops, the noise rises to a deafening level - these are the cymbals of the symphony, crashing and smashing their crescendo.   It is the music of gravity and precipitation and it sings of the indifferent fury and inexplicable kindness of nature.


But there is more than just mathematical static, the audio track to 9.8 meters per second per second.   There is a football match on, and in the half-closed doors and shutters of restaurants flicker the TV screens and hopes of hard working Zarumeños.  The announcer's voice rises, rises, and then from one side of the street thunders a great cheer and applause while the other side replies with curses of defeat.   One man's good is another's evil, in football as in life.  Farther up the winding roads, past the town's main mudslide, a group of men sit on a covered cliffside patio sharing hard liquor and songs from decades long gone while the acoustic guitar's rich voice warms the heart as if one  smelled cinnamon rolls baking.  Soaking wet from head to toe, I'm a long way from the nearest cinnamon roll, but the sound of the rain and that guitar blending satisfies in almost the same way.


Blogger Mr. Burns said...

Just beautiful, my man.

10:10 AM  

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