Today the clouds rolled in from the sea and mountains meeting over the new road and encircling the entire town from cape to cape and across the sea to the furthest horizon, a plethora of grey low-lying intimidating layers sitting waiting. There was little heat and little humidity even as the cooling breezes touched all exposed coming from varied and ever-changing directions. The aromas of coffee, grilled squid and soup mixing heavily with the whipped up dust and exhaust gases along the main drag on the race inevitably to be lost back to shelter to watch the full coming of the glory of the opening of heavens from behind glazed frontiers protected from any of its meaning and fury and elemental rending, to once again exist in the cosseted realm of normality and the accepted.
The island lay somewhere in the Irish Sea. The hotel lay somewhere on the long inlet filled winding coast of the island. The wicker chairs painted white surrounded the glass top table in some windowed alcove to the side of the restaurant viewing the short emerald lawn falling rapidly to the short cliff and the sea. The sea of grey and majestic white tops on the rising waves, that were coming more frequently now. The sea stretching to the distant indistinct juncture of sky and sea, both grey and heavy, so heavy that even in the alcove the weight could be felt. The whistle of wind through cracks in the aging wooden windows rising in crescendo to the challenge of the distant rolling booms of the clouds colliding. And now the crooked line of light from cloud to sea. The plate of unnoticed battered fish and overly green peas on the glass top table with the frothy pale brown foam headed glass. Eyes and attention timelessly drawn to the unfolding legacy of scene one of an unproduced undirected stage.
The two-hour journey on the red funneled island ferry had already turned to six hours as the ferry meandered seamlessly in the eddying currents and tides with no power of its own anymore gradually drifting to a halt as the fog bank drifted in, the only thing moving in the becalmed heavy hanging atmosphere on the deck of the ferry. With the wet damp but not unappealing odour of the fog comes a silence and an envelopment in aloneness even a few mere yards from the bar on the ferry, the light of which still haloes its way across the deck to the rail. The bar appeals.
I had had just about as much as I could take and I was not going to stay there any longer. I was going home. The road ran over the top of Huay Yai and was usually a veritable racers track, but as I started the journey the wind rose quickly coming in surges battering the side of the car and throwing foliage from the tops of the trees lining the road across the fields of potatoes grown not to feed the masses but to feed their vehicles desire for fuel. The flying foliage would, I knew from experience be quickly followed by whole tree themselves, and so it was as the wind built the first tree crashed into the road mere metres from the car. The wind that soi often stops as the first drops of rain come in the tropics this time had no intention of abating as the heavy first few slow drops hit the roof of the car and brought the thick sludge hanging in the air onto the screen. Within seconds the few slow drops turn into a deluge on full throttle with visibility down to the length of your car. There will be no racing here today as the lights of the truck or car in front are almost invisibilities. The road now a river of water and light dirt with trees crashing down in the wind as the first bolt of lightning explodes against the power pylon to the left of the road with a shattering realization that the clouds are mere metres away from the road. The next bolt is shattering a full-bodied tree. It explodes into hundreds of pieces showering its shrapnel across the road, followed by another to the rear.
The bar remains a warm light alcohol and smoke-filled haven existing in isolation from the nothingness and quiet around, a mixture of pleasure, relief, avoidance of reality and seasickness. Even those who don’t drink or smoke are finding their way into this packed small box of humanity awaiting release.
The wind no longer whistles through the aging wrinkled white window frames, or maybe it does but unheard as the hotel shudders under the barrage of light and sound hanging over the cliffs as the waves move in quicker and quicker to crash unseen from the hotel against the low cliffs, at time rising up over them and onto the lawn sometimes seen as the wind takes a breath before blinding all sight from the alcove with another gasp of fury sending a wall of grey rain crashing against the aching limbs of the building that has seen so many decades of the same, and that knows that at some stage it will succumb to the roaring assault of ages. The meal and drink still remain unnoticed but no longer in isolation in the alcove where those inside are gathered awaiting an interlude.
As the tree explodes in front of me I realize that it was a car that I was trying to keep the lights of in sight. I slowly pass it now in the ditch at the side of the road still with lights on and wipers going. But there is no time for more to be noticed as rising into the cloud, rising into the source of the storm on the top of the plateau everything lightens and becomes still and quiet. A peace, a harmony falls on the scenes of destruction of only moments before.
Without warning the water falls hard and straight. There is no wind. The light breeze and aromas have gone. It is a cooling falling rain and shelter lies only a few minutes away. As I feel the cool rain run down through my hair and soak through onto my back, I know the drought is gone, and that it is not cosseting or protection that I need but a return to reality and I feel life once more flow into me to course round my veins and to remind me what life is. To feel, to experience, to be, to love and to not need to know or to have or to understand. Peace.