the land of the thunder dragon is roaring. the sky is crying on the land, making music against the metal roof of the building where i sit and write. i am of the desert. the thunder there whispers hints of a roar from miles away. the clear vast nothing that stands in the way of its voyage carries its whisper gently until it is above my head rumbling and cracking. the journey of the desert dragon is one i can see, hear and feel on my skin as the thunder moves like a long train toward me. when there are storms in el paso, i sit one block away from my mother's home on the edge of an arroyo. lightening crumbles the distant sky and the rain descends, cracking hot air with water. the ground cools as its heat rises up my spine. the gobernador that blankets the arroyo sighs with relief and releases its magic perfume into the air. this is the smell of the desert rain. the desert begins its dance, erasing the heat and the tense thinness that lives in that desert air.
in bhutan, the world lives on the edges of cliffs. there is nothing mild here. sounds contradict one another as silence carries distant dogs' anger and mad drivers' signals. bark bark honk bark honk honk.
there is nothing mild here.
the mountains boom above me...erasing me from any map that may exist within the eyes of stars. clouds consume the mountains and their booming shape flattens into dense white softness. evidence of eager winds flaps in scripts on squares of color. the earth surround me as it protects hides and reveals the details that dwell in my soul. in moments like those i wonder, "does this place really exist...so blanketed with such tremendous peace and calmness?"
i remember the distant suffering that recently dug its cave into my finger tips. they have only tin and holes above their heads. they live within walls of woven bamboo and brittle plastic. the light and shapes in this place crash into the telescopes of my eyes as i wander through this valley. clumsy memories do not stand a chance against this world that lives on the edges of cliffs. in my skilfull moments, clumbsy memories finally move out of sight, retreating into their land of smoke and mirrors...and the contradictions of this world within mountains crash into the telescopes in my eyes.
there is nothing mild here.
the rain has picked up its pace. blankets of water fall now, hurrying and begging. the sound of rain on metal overpowers the fumbling voice in my mind. all sounds are overpowered by the persistent rain. the soft rhythm of my music fades away and this shhhhh is loud and constant.
the desert flooded once. my brothers and i walked down a slippery slope to see a river madly flowing through the arroyo. the city fell to pieces. rivers carried buildings and the mountain down down down toward the river into the growing sea of smooth desert mud that filled the valley furiously and relentlessly. rivers swallowed streets and carried unpredictable boats down down and away.the desert must have been so thirsty. but these mountains, in the land of the thunder dragon...are they also thirsty? are they so angry? this loud and constant shhhhh is not born of an angry cloud. it is simply born for these spaces between high earth. this loud and constant shhhhh is meant for this place.
the rain's pace has slighty slowed. i hear its grip release from the metal roof. the dragon discourages the slowing of the rain with another roar. i hear it bounce between the walls of the valley, but the rain continues as it wishes. one more roar bursts down from the clouds and the rain is at the mercy of the dragon. the wind advances in fast circles and the rain begins to argue. its pleading with the dragon now...to let it slow down.
the desert's dance is different. it slithers slowly, gracefully, happily along as awkward water falls from the sky. that grace is only interrupted by the sound of thunder rising sharply from the flatness of the earth...i don't think it booms down from the clouds in the desert. the sun shines in the distance running from clouds that are begging to burst at their seams. the clouds are tall giants carrying symphonies. they chase the sun light away. they're trying to soften the desert.
i remember when the hardness of the desert got me. there was a time i fought with my mother. i ran out the front door in bare feet chasing madness (as i used to do). the sun was beaming that day...screeching with heat. the black asphault the men had laid down only days before was glimmering with wicked laughter. it carried the sun's torturous song in its tar. my feet ran fast at first. i didn't feel anything...my mind followed the sounds of the stillness that madenned and steered my course. around one bend around another... the asphault got me like a snake! it sent needles into my feet begging me to stop. i stood in the shade of a telephone pole...angry. i should have heard the snake long before it got me. (in the desert you learn the sound of snakes as a mini.) i paused, regretting my temper and kept running. the asphault ignored the melting souls of my feet. i took to shade again, perched atop the diagonal firm shadow of another stark and straight telephone pole. i reached home and my mother stood within the shimmering grey light of the house waiting. i teeter tottered up the walkway and left my feet soaking in the blue bath tub of her bathroom. the desert has no mercy.
merciless sun exists in these mountains too-dancing upon slate in your bare feet also makes their souls melt. but here, the sun's heat vanishes as quickly as it appears. while the sun shows no mercy the clouds certainly do. when the thunder dragon begins to roar not even the sun is brave enough to stay. he commands the tense strings in the air to fall. he carries the rain within his belly and spills his insides magnificently over one hundred thousand selves of we.
the rain's complete conscious tenderly sleeps over the valley now. the roar with which it came skillfully and delicately disappears and the rain settles in its motion. the sound of wheels over water whispers thank yous toward the sky. it will rain into the night.