Sol y lluvia
A single droplet of rain falling from the heavens to nourish the rivers and wild flowers.
A ray of sunlight, born millions of miles away, shining a glimmer of eternity into outstretched jungle trees.
These tiny contributions have immense significance to the ecology of Panama’s wilds.
Since my family’s move to Panama, I have learned that there’s no reason to worry about what the weather is going to do on a daily basis. Panama’s three basic seasons – dry, green and rainy – will rarely forbid you from enjoying the outdoors. It is nearing the peak of the rainy season right now, but even as the showers become more ample and frequent, I discover new ways to appreciate them both indoors and out.
Rain or shine, all the things I love best about this land remain as beautiful and accessible as ever. Dynamic weather often draws me in to more deeply connect with my environment, too. The shifting patterns of the sky tell upon my mood and my inclinations – a spectacular evening storm finds me cooking a fury in my condo’s kitchen, to spread a Panamanian feast over my family’s table as lightning illuminates the dinner hour. And morning showers often empty the skies for the rest of the day, so that by nightfall our beach is bathed in moonlight from the cloudless heavens above – one of the loveliest sights I’ve ever seen.
Life in Panama for an expat from Canada presents a novel contrast on many levels, and this contrast is reflected in the weather: menacing cement-coloured clouds and postcard-blue patches of sky are often visible overhead at the same time. Outdoor yoga classes take place surrounded by lush, colourful vegetation, not cold, windowless urban settings, and walking the beaches has become our daily meditation.
There are times when our view of the mountain tops is curtailed by the storms that settle over their peaks. As we bask in the sunshine, we marvel at how just a few miles away the cloud forests and mountain villages are being fed with fresh water. On some days, those storms chase our sun away and we are met with sideways-driving rain and ferocious winds.
This is the rain dance of Panama, and we sit and watch the choreography with awe.
When sunny skies reign uninterrupted, I find the heat is often debilitating – perhaps I’m still de-acclimating from the grey dreariness of the Canadian winters I only recently left behind. Some days the sun seems to be directly overhead, never nearing the horizon until the moment it disappears. The rain is more intense, more purposeful.
It is an endless wonder.
I struggle to capture in words what I have witnessed in Panama of the power of rain, the benefits of rain, healing and nurturing, forming a conduit between earth and sky, bathing the beaches and nourishing the jungles of this wild isthmian nation…
Exhausting my prose, I invite you to enjoy my rain poem , written for the love of rain.
The Panamanian Horizon
The waves crash and die at the beginning;
puddling like the clouds on the other side
foaming with chaos and intent.
Only the Sun can see;
can whisper into its ear
always close, always warning those that dare travel its path.
The rain can only dream;
feeding the elastic arms of the cloud-forest trees
trapped in the roots of the mountain walls.
Fading into mist, washing away;
the black volcanic beach sand
skips across the pebbles with the sandpipers.
Across the grey, occasional green and blue, of the ocean
it lies as a line of concrete
visible and near, yet always distanced and unattainable.
The end is never seen;
beyond the sea and ships
the drop-off is only the beginning.
Additional photos courtesy Jacki Gillcash.