Thursday, March 1, 2012

What a difference the weather can make.

Since returning to Rangjung we have had only one clear day and a smoky haze has clouded our views. Several times we have commented that we don’t remember it being like this last year, but memory does have a way of deleting the less favorable and retaining the best so we were not really sure!

I was convinced that the winter was over for us. In my mind the ingrained idea that winter brings the rain persists, despite the knowledge that here it is the monsoon that blesses the farmers and the crops, and that happens in summer. Even though the morning and evenings have still been cold, most of the days have been moderate and very comfortable. That was until yesterday.

We had decided that forest fires must have been causing the haze we were experiencing and maybe that is true, but suddenly late yesterday the haze turned to gloomy, grey skies, it was freezing cold and the expectation of rain hung heavily in the air before it actually happened. Fortunately I dodged the showers and managed to get home without getting wet. I had mistakenly taken to wearing lighter clothes as the afternoons have been so hot but yesterday I left school shaking and actually said to one of my students that it was so cold I thought it might snow. It has never snowed in Rangjung in all our time here but it really felt like it might.  Within an hour of getting home the rain settled in for the evening and it loudly continued all night long with spectacular results.

This morning we woke up to our incredible views reinstated. The haze had evaporated and the clouds were sailing along in the valley, hovering and concealing the lower reaches of the ranges. A fine green mist of new growth had appeared in the paddy fields overnight. The peaks of the saw-toothed mountains in the far distance, on 3 sides all had a thin film of fresh snow, enhancing the already fairytale-like scenery of the ranges that surround us. Weak patches of morning sunshine spotlit tiny hamlets on the ridges, adding a magical quality to the scene. Towards the eastern horizon, a fresh, light coating of snow on a single jagged peak was glistening, bathed in bright sunshine. Behind us equally rugged mountains all have white-topped summits. The dusty trails we had stromped along only last week, on these same ranges are clearly slippery and muddy again but best of all there was crystal clear quality to the air. We could see for miles in all directions and the views were breathtaking.

WOW! This view presents itself with stunning regularity but we hadn’t realized that we had been missing it until it reappeared this morning. We were so taken aback that I didn’t even get the camera to photograph the splendor.

This is a reminder to appreciate these views and I am vowing to take a moment every morning to savor their evolving beauty. Whether they are bathed in soft morning light, sharply defined in crystal clarity or only dimly visible through thick fog, they are magnificent. In these parts, there may not be many roses to smell but the views are enchanting and so very different from home. By this afternoon the haze had returned and our fleeting glimpse of paradise was gone.

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