This winter has been a rotten one for Santiago. With the exception of a storm on the 12th of July, we've had almost no rain at all. The occasional apologetic drizzle doesn't count for much, and day by day the air has gotten fouler and fouler and measured in how far the amber air-quality alert shades into emergency-red and by which license plates are allowed on the road in today's restricción vehicular.
absolutely awful. Nobody in the city has dared to hope for more; we've
been continually promised breaks in the weather, but the sheer act of
hoping has caused the clouds to perversely shear off and go somewhere
else. Anywhere else.
But this week it happened.
Mum called me on Monday. "The satellite says you're getting rain this week."
"It's going to be enormous. The temperature is going to drop, and then it's going to pour-"
"I'll believe it when I'm walking through it. Seen any good films lately?"
"-and it's going to last for days. Aren't you excited?"
"Of course I'm not excited! We've been refusing to get excited about it for days now! Stop talking! If you keep talking, you'll scare it away!"
Mum kept talking, but somehow, the rain still came. Not even the weight of seven million tentative, tremulous enthusiasms turned it from racing straight toward Santiago, and when it hit, it hit hard.
First the wind, howling and snarling, and then the rain, bursting through bedroom windows and flooding roads and overpasses.
That was Wednesday. Thursday was bigger than Wednesday, and Friday was bigger than Thursday, and I sat in in our living room with the whole apartment sealed tight and the curtains swelled and billowed while winds came whistling through through -
The reality of life in an earthquake zone is that a sealed building envelope is more of a concept than an actual thing. Every quake shifts doors and windows subtly out of alignment with the walls, and the cumulative effect is - well, in big storms, it's actually rather fun.
Today, the fourth day of the storm, was a howling torment. The curtains on the (sealed) living room windows billowed and snapped. The venetian blind on the (sealed) bathroom window clattered so loudly we wound it all the way up and then we stuffed a sock between the (closed) bathroom door and the door frame to stop the slamming door driving us irretrievably demented. Outside it poured and blew, and we went back to bed with books.
Sometime around four it stopped. Just stopped. The clouds blew away and the sky turned cerulean and a golden light illuminated a world that for once was fresh and clear and bright clean out to the mountains, which stood up stark and crisp and heavy with snow.
It was magical.
And half an hour ago the clouds came back in and the wind began to rise and the trees are bending and the evening is flat and grey - not evening dark but storm dark. Heaven.