My planner tells me that it’s the first day of autumn today. Not that I would have had the slightest clue from the climate and fauna here where I’m living. Those familiar four seasons don’t apply in this part of the world. Something in me is sad to be missing the beautiful fall colors and crisp air. But a big part of me is rejoicing at the discovery of a new cycle of seasons. I’ve experienced the long-awaited rainy season after the dry season. And it’s a glorious thing.
A rainfall is usually announced by a strong wind that whips through the hot, stagnant air. (I will never forget my first experience of that wind. As the family I was living with rushed around to shut windows and doors, bring in the drying laundry, and pull in furniture not under shelter, all I could do was stand in front of my open window and take in with all my senses that cool, abrupt wind.) The drops begin to fall; everything comes to a bit of a halt. And after the rain ends, the stuffy humidity has been replaced, for a time, by air so fresh that one wonders on which new planet the storm dropped its happy hostages.
I had the opportunity to leave the city and travel into the Seereer countryside a couple weeks ago. The trip was to visit in their villages the women who had received the audio New Testament in their language back in July. Little did I know what was awaiting me out in the bush…
…lush, green pastures!
I could hardly believe my eyes. These very fields were little more than sand the last time I was here in July. Rain can really make that big of a difference? Of course I’d heard about the crops that would grow during the rainy season. But I never expected it all to be this green.
I had to share the green-ness since I’ve often made note of the lack of it. I’m going on record to say that the region where I’m living can be more than dusty and brown. Seven months into life here, I’m discovering new layers of beauty and color. I’m learning that I won’t see all that this part of West Africa has to offer until I’ve been in it, at the very least, a whole year.
Good things come to those that wait through the dry season. And one needs to hang around in a new place long enough to glimpse the full array of beauty through the whole cycle of its seasons.