It has been wet in Atlanta. Flash floods have plagued some areas and trees have fallen because the ground is soft and mushy.
But nothing can compare with the floodwaters that swept across Luzon and through Metro Manila this past week. Images of the blinding rain and repeated appeals for prayer on the social networks alarmed me. Is it over yet? Please, God, make it stop.
Being away from home during a crisis is disconcerting. CNN carried brief but graphic visuals. Another Ondoy? Someone said it was worse?
I know that our Metro Manila traffic is normally snarled and exasperating, but the pictures of vehicles immobilized or floating on C-5, SLEX and off the Skyway were stunning. One headline said Metro Manila was paralyzed.
I prayed my children and grandchildren were safe and not on the road. I nagged them via text, Facebook and Twitter. Actually, they were among the fortunate ones who had a choice whether or not they faced the elements. But I wept for those with no choice but to be in the thick of it because their homes had been swept away. I salute the brave responders who, without hesitation, came to their rescue.
Too many people live out there where it isn’t safe. Evacuation centers are never just around the corner. I can’t imagine how parents can keep their children away from the disease-infested currents while they seek refuge and wonder where their next meal will come from.
Those of us with the good fortune of living in comfortable homes made of “materiales fuertes” in places away from floods have no idea what this means. It is difficult to imagine what it’s like to have to run for your life.
It is sad to know that only a few fences away from the chaos caused by the relentless rain, there are insensitive people (“de buena familia”) who made no bones about being “terribly inconvenienced” by the weather and grudgingly cancelled a sumptuous cookout. Alas, where indeed could they set up their wood-burning pizza oven and the new gas barbecue? It was too late to rent a tent. Many guests were from clear across town and not even their luxury SUVs could traverse the roads. Their children tweeted how “bummed” they were to have to play gadget games alone without their friends.
May I suggest that these parents take their spoiled brats to visit evacuation centers and areas devastated by the floods to see how those parents and their kids “survive” a deluge? Instead of sulking at home, how about getting their hearts in gear and, together, make relief bags with stuff from their overflowing closets and pantries? All that food for the party that didn’t happen could feed several homeless and hungry families. Shame on you!
What are these endless rains all about? The experts blame tropical depressions for “enhancing” the southwest monsoons or habagat. (All this time I thought that “to enhance” meant to make better.) Some blame global warming. Call it whatever you want. But these torrential rains were scary. Even the little children who love it when classes are suspended were not too happy.
Did the weather dampen the spirits of the thousands who hope to march tomorrow? I am too far away and have not kept in touch with the public pulse enough to know if this exercise will succeed or even happen.
State of calamity
Talk about a state of calamity, although not related to the weather, this may well describe the latest pork scam. Is this what the march is all about? What is the latest from the pigsty?
It looks like there are more than just three little pigs in this story. From several reliable sources we hear that their houses are not built of straw or sticks. Last I heard the search was on for the main culprit who seems to be taunting: “Not by the hair on my chinny chin chin.” Who will play the wolf in this story? Can the force of the law huff and puff and blow her houses down? Let us hope so.
Reading about the plans for the protest march, I have asked myself, if I were young and energetic enough, would I be one with the thousands who will take to the streets? For sure, I would not enlist if this were a politically motivated exercise. Been there, done that, worn the T-shirt.
But to protest against greed and maybe help eradicate corruption, yes. I would put on my trusty Nikes if I knew I was marching shoulder-to-shoulder with people who have risen in righteous indignation.
They say that for evil to triumph, all that is needed is for good men (and women!) to do nothing. I pray that this march is about finally “doing something.”
Corner of the firmament
And now, from the ridiculous to the sublime.
About two weeks ago I received an e-mail from a stargazer. It said: “If you stay up late tonight, and look up at the sky (he gave me the time and geographical direction) and not allow the clouds nor the luminous moon to obscure your view, there in the deepest corner of the firmament, you will see showers of meteors blazing across the darkness. It will be a spectacle not to be missed and never to be forgotten!”
Isn’t that just like life?
Even during the fiercest storm, if you look up and not let the bright lights of the world blind you, if you can look beyond the ominous clouds and the thundering rain, there in the depth of the darkest sky you will discover and be amazed by the grandeur and goodness of God.