The monsoon is coming.
Every morning at 4:30 or 5:00 I sit on our balcony terrace, on a broad concrete bench in front of the cottage windows, facing east, facing the Himalayas to meditate. The birds are already awake in pre-dawn darkness: singing, crying, whistling, calling, trilling. The air is cool and inviting.
I light a stick of incense and place it between two rocks and close my eyes. My journal and books and two cups of tea steep beside me. My morning ritual, morning retreat and sanctuary, my daily nourishment and favorite part of the day.
After I finish meditating, I open my eyes and look at the mountains and the sky. Usually, towering clouds are coming toward me, from the Himalayas. It’s said that tall mountains create their own weather.
Having grown up in the American South, I miss thunderstorms. We don’t have many in Logan, Utah. But here, we have whole festivals of them! Afternoon storms and night storms and morning storms whose thunder shakes the ground and the house. On one night I wrote of earlier, the lightning and thunder burst simultaneously just outside our window, going off like a canon! Being up in the clouds much of the time, this theater of wonder plays right beside us.
Indra,the thunder god, Zeus-like, of the ancient Indian pantheon, rules the sky and war and storms. As Greece and India share the same Indo-European language family, they also share similarities in mythology. Indra has been generous with his storms while we have been here, his high snowy peaks unleashing juggernaut clouds of rain and fire.
I put my incense stick on my left since the air is always moving from the Himalayas down towards us, and I can catch a whiff of it now and then while I sit. But this morning it wasn’t working. I opened my eyes and saw a different sky. Instead of huge, towering clouds sailing out into the blue from the high peaks, ships with white sails full of the morning, today the whole sky is a dull, white-and-gray wool laid over us in all directions, blocking the view of the mountains, and moving slowly, inexorably from the south.
It’s starting to sprinkle.
This is not rain from the Himalayas. This is rain from the plains, the coming of the monsoon from the south. A giant weather season that will cover the sub-continent for months, with flash floods, surging rivers, mudslides, streets of water, muddy sidewalks. And the barren, cracked, parched, brown landscape will burst into green everywhere. Waterfalls everywhere! Rain! Rain! Rain! Goodbye, Himalayan thunderstorms! Now, surrender to the Asian monsoon!