Thursday, January 24, 2008

An Abundance of Filled Vats

Whenever the hints of impending rain sweep over this place, on the slope of the Eastern Central Mountains facing the Inland Sea, we would put down whatever we were working on and rush to the storage room about a hundred metres from the main house on this farm. There the huge earthenware vats, used for storing rainwater, are held.

We would have to carry them out to the gravel field in front of the room in time to gather as much water as possible from the rain. The storms here come and pass very quickly, lasting no longer than five minutes; but they are incredibly intense, and in those few minutes enough water could be gathered to fill several vats. We then have to move all the water into a few vats and bring those down, on a small trolley, to the house itself where the proprietor will place some hasugo into the water, to scent it and prevent any germs or mosquito larvae from settling, and store the vats away.

In those minutes when the storm peaks over this patch of mountain forest we would all be hiding in the vat room, a dark and somewhat damp place where we have found centipedes, spiders, lizards and even toads. Once I showed a spider to Mitasme, who then refused to enter the room no matter what I did; this way we both got caught in the storm, paralysed by the blinding rain and only returning to the farmhouse after it had passed. Every part of our bodies exposed to the raindrops became blue-black over the night; as she apologised for her recalcitrance I massaged her battered shoulders and said nothing.

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