It hasn’t always occurred to me, but the last time I ran my routine, it had.
Marching on the rubberized tracks, I was planning to reach one round before I start to gain speed. On the center of the grassfield located on the middle of the oval, there was a team of adolescents like me, leaping to catch a disk that was thrown in the air. Their bronze arms glazed in dripping sweat as the rays of the declining sun gave them light. On the other part of the field, more than a dozen kids rolled a checkered ball with their kicks, passing it to their teammates until it flew into a net.
Behind me and ahead of me, runners were gasping for air. Whenever someone passed me by, I felt the wind surge against me. Although the sun was bright gold, the wind was frozen as ice. I began to prime myself for a 20 to 30 minute run, which has become my hobby in recent days.
It was in that afternoon when my legs started to propel me rapidly forward that I felt my sweat pour from the surface of my skin way too early. I didn’t even complete a round before I began to feel drops trickling down my arms. But as I ran further, I noticed that the sky had turned gray and the people on the tracks and on the field started evacuating the place. I slowed and when I lifted my hand in a gesture which wonder compelled me to do so due to its dampness, I discovered that what made it wet wasn’t the sweat pouring from my skin, but from the rain coming from the sky.
Hoping not to slip, I sprinted towards where I left my bag on the outlines of the tracks. I picked it up and once the rain began to pour heavily, I climbed my way among shaded bleachers where the people stayed and found shelter from the sudden change of weather.
The rain spattered on the stadium as I sat in one of the bleachers. Before I could completely settle, the winds brought with them frozen fingers that seemed to poke me and brush my hair. I shivered slightly and as I began to complain to myself about the weather’s abrupt shift, I thought about the significance of rain, particularly in the context of the Philippine climate.
Located in Southeast Asia, the Philippines only undergoes two seasons – dry and wet or sunny and rainy. It’s a suitable climate for a tropical country where these two seasons would often reach to their extremes. In the Philippines, however, drought and devastating floods are apparent effects of a modern day destructive global phenomenon, climate change.
In April this year, a bloody incident ensued in North Cotabato, one of the many agricultural provinces in the Philippines, when farmers rioted on a national highway to request for the government’s aid in giving them sacks of rice for their daily meals. This is due to the farmlands’ lack of produce as a devastating effect of a prolonged drought that extended in the province throughout the dry season. (Read here for more information).
The incident resulted to violence, blood, and tears when the farmers were fired with bullets instead of granting them what they came for. It has been one of the most atrocious incidents in the Philippines where farmers have become the victims.
As the country welcomes the wet season, rain has been a constant visitor in the days of the succeeding months. That was why it rained at the time when I should have been doing my routine outdoors.
But as I was sitting in one of the bleachers in that rainy afternoon, I couldn’t help but think of the positive effects the rain will bring to the country, particularly in agricultural provinces like North Cotabato where farming is the primary livelihood, where farmers endeavor for the abundance of their crops and staple food for their daily necessities. I hoped that the rain would bring forth good harvest – one which was deprived of them by the drought during the dry season. I also hoped that the rainy season wouldn’t allow tropical storms and typhoons to ravage homes in vulnerable communities in the country, because flash floods and landslides would often occur in the aftermath of devastating natural calamities. One disaster was exemplified by Super Typhoon Haiyan when it fell in the central islands of the archipelago back in 2013. (Read here for more information)
As long as it is part of the climate’s natural cycle, I believe the rain can do no harm. Introverts relish in a rainy day which gives them considerable excuse to stay indoors, read a book, and sip from a cup of brewed coffee or hot cocoa. But more than this comfort, I believe that the rain isn’t a weather that should always be regarded as bad, contrary to popular belief. It allows all that sprouts from the soil to grow.
I knew that the more I brooded, the more I wasted my time in the bleachers. So, I gathered my belongings and descended once more to the tracks. I left my bag where I kept my spare clothes along the side. Then I began to run once more. There were probably only three of us on the tracks while the rest of the people were still settled in the bleachers, waiting for the rain to cease.
As they fell from the sky, I felt the raindrops spatter on my arms, dampening my shirt and shorts. I stepped onto puddles that splashed whenever the soles of my rubber shoes landed on them. The downpour was constant and I paid no heed to it. I stopped complaining because then I realized that the rain did nothing to hurt me. While running has been my routine in the afternoons, this was my first time to run under such weather. I didn’t count the rounds I completed. I slowed down when I felt tired. I breathed heavily when I felt my breath thinning through my throat and nostrils. But the rain did nothing to hinder me from running.
A freeing experience it was to run in the rain. But the best part of this was when I thought about the rain being more than a blessing to others than it could be to me.
I thought about the farmers in my country who struggled desperately in the period of drought. When I gazed at the expansive field on the middle of the oval, I saw the grasses become greener and more vibrant than they were before they had become wet.
I believe the rain has its purpose. I might have known it. But it never occurred to me until then.