shielarcastillo

Afternoon showers

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A little before five o’clock I just finished reading a book and I saw from my bedroom window that a slight drizzle has started. I left my room, took a raincoat from the storage, and ventured outside.

After more than two months in quarantine, I never went out of the house with no particular intention. Usually, I just go out of the house and go directly to do my errands outside, like grocery shopping, or any other essential tasks that my parents, being elderly, are not allowed to do. Since I arrived here, I didn’t really just go out around the yard. For two months, I was in a much more restricted quarantine, which I didn’t realize I imposed on myself. I was on what you might call in ‘bedroom exile’ that I didn’t really mind if I was either all in my head or floating around the house like a ghost, barely making a sound.

A few days ago, I started unplugging my earphones and venturing out of my room more. I started staying longer on the table after meals to talk to my parents. I even visited my aunt last Saturday. My friend Ian called me from Birmingham on Sunday. We have these video calls every few months to catch up on each other. He said that it was good I get to look after my parents. I told him that actually, my parents were looking after me as I hardly ventured out of my room. They were looking after me by letting me be. And realizing that, I was glad that they did, because it gave me an opportunity to dive deeper into my heart to have clarity over things that kept me in my head. Coming here before the quarantine was imposed is what others call a ‘blessing in the skies’. Yes, some people call it that, and I guess more appropriately so as there was no disguise about it.

The other day, my sister who lives in Texas called me. After a few minutes of talking, she said I sounded happy, and I realized that I was. She was trying to pry into what was the cause of the laughter and lilt in my voice. I told her I was just happy and did not elaborate on any reason why. Even though there was a specific reason I was feeling lighter and more of my jolly old self, I thought that there was really no need for a reason for somebody to be one. Shouldn’t it be a state of being and not dependent on a particular reason? Shouldn’t it be the goal, to just be happy, it being a means and an end in itself?

So I did go out in the afternoon drizzle, my phone on my bed. I looked at my Dad’s little garden in the yard. I noticed that there are some eggplants and okras ready for picking by tomorrow. Papayas shorter than me have buds coming out and small fruits taking shape. There is still one growing sour sop fruit in the tree that gave us the sweetest, juiciest fruits for several weeks.  The custard apple trees have little bulbs that will be ready in a few days. Their flowers smelled so sweet, and I stayed there longer to bask in their lovely aroma. The guava tree has some ripe and green fruits, one of my favorites growing up, and there are usually some in the fruit tray on the dining table for us to snack on. The cassava bushes are matured enough for the root to be dug out of the ground. The jackfruit tree is heavy with huge, unripe fruits that my mom has been waiting for to make sweet preserves of. The other day she made one unripe jackfruit into Humba, traditionally a sweet and salty meat dish with soy sauce, vinegar, black peppercorns, and bay leaves, but the plant-based version has been my favorite long before I even went vegan. Some pineapples are showing signs of promise. On the dining table, one is sitting regally on the fruit tray with its crown, which will be planted later on. The mango tree has lost its bountiful bloom in the recent storm, but there are still some blooms and tiny beginnings of mango fruits that managed to hang on. I hope they will grow full term into sweet, yellow goodness.

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I stayed a good hour outside, once in a while tilting my head back to feel the shower on my face. Now I’m looking out my bedroom window to the tree that is frequently visited by a host of different birds, and recently, by a majestic black raven. The shower has stopped. The leaves are barely moving. In a few minutes, the moon will start to rise from the horizon. A sense of calm. A state of gratitude. Lovely. #src

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