Friday, November 8, 2013

A Day Before The Storm

Today, I went biking. My legs are cold from the biting wind and the droplets of rain that it brought along, but I felt wonderful. I haven’t gone biking in a long time, partly because the only bike I am tall enough to ride belongs to my brother, and partly because I don’t have the time for it. So today, when I rode my bike and pedaled across the neighborhood, it felt like the first time in years.

It was thrilling. I don’t know what it is about the wind blowing past your face, causing your jacket and hair to fly, or being able to control how fast you go through the pedal and breaks. I don’t know what it is about those things that make me feel like I’m a heroine from a western movie or novel.

Anyway, as I ride on my bike and take in my surroundings, I am overcome with a pressing premonition of danger. The sky is covered with clouds, and the atmosphere is chilly. The trees sway with the wind in an almost hypnotic fashion, as though they possess some kind of wooden magic. Everything moves slowly, and the clouds that hang above us are thick and grey.

When I reach the front of my neighborhood—the part where you can see the main road opposite it, I am slightly surprised to be met with silence. The road is empty, and it is the first time I've seen it this way. No cars whooshing past, no jeepneys stopping at the corner of the road, and no people walking by. Nothing.

The entire world seems quiet today. The dogs I usually fear have stopped barking and are hidden, and everyone is at their homes. The wind is rustling ever-so-carefully, and apart from me and my bicycle, the world is still.

It is this subtle atmosphere that makes most people feel panicked. It is like the way the sea pulls back before releasing a gigantic wave. It is the calm before the storm. In this case, the storm of the year.

When I return to my house, I am aware that Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda will hit my place in a few hours. I am aware that after one day, the world won’t quite be the same, and some of my things will have been broken. I am aware that my backyard and everything past the gate of my house will have been flooded. Above all, I know that there is nothing I can do.

I am aware of all these things, and so, like mother nature, I brace myself and wait for it to arrive.

Written yesterday: Nov. 7, 2013.