14 May 2008

Journal 35

December 20 - On the 18th - my 'anniversary' in robes - the clouds gathered in the early afternoon, forcing the air downwards, heavily, and drowsily everyone weakened and at last fell asleep under the weight of the air mass. 3:00 I was wakened by knocks on the kuti door and told to look at the river. This river had been a refuge from the heat: running rapidly between rocks, clear and brilliant, it slipped between giant boulders into a smooth area of S0 yards, deep enough for swimming, shallow enough for bathing, reached by a flight of stone steps, before running into more rocks, and continuing its journey to the Indian Ocean amidst foam and splashes. Such had been this fine jungle river. Now, though, it was raining: air, its pressure released, rushed upwards, and water, replacing it, poured down, and the river was no longer a mountain stream but a muddy Mississippi; dangerous and rolling steeply above hidden dangers: it was about 20 feet above its normal level (of about 3 feet), wide and brown, and struggling to contain itself as more water poured down. The bridge going across the river, leading to the village - this bridge, which had formerly been a dozen feet above water - this bridge was nowhere to be seen, and we were stranded. It was reminiscent of the Deluge of Ein Gedi. Reminiscent only, however, and not climactic: after a few hours the rain stopped, the level dropped, the bridge, and other familiar landmarks reappeared, none the worse for the torrents - which may be common for all I know - and all was normal…

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