The Wet Season

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Photo: Kelly Dean

The Wet Season

By Kelly Dean

In just a few weeks, the skies will begin opening up, letting the two-hour daily downpours begin. The sky-water is so warm it doesn’t really bother me.

When it’s not raining, the warming effect is still felt when walking under the shadows created by clouds on a partly cloudy day. Ironically, like dragging a blanket, there’s momentary humid warmth when you walk under the cloud’s shadow, which is then replaced by cooler, dryer warmth when the sun re-emerges. It’s odd and the opposite of what you’d think. The clouds carry this invisible blanket across the sky in the path ahead of you marked by the shadows.

Always, the breeze is your friend. There’s nothing compared to going to the shore and taking a cooling swim in the ocean and feeling the wind, both cool and dry, against wet skin afterward. The toasting and cooling cycle goes on all day long at the beach, unless you just stay in the water all together, cutting out the middleman.

In wintertime, the water is cool and not as pleasant as in the hot summer, especially on a boat, where the spray occasionally sprinkles the skin on your face. The speed of the boat, combined with the misty breeze is what Santiago must have felt like, or surly Captain Ahab or the doomed Ancient Mariner. The mist refreshes as you fly across the waves.

Most seasonal visitors come in winter and most of those are unaware that they are missing something special during the “hot, wet months” as they seek escape from the “cold, wet months” up north, not realizing there’s more.

There’s the unique feeling of sand on bare feet while sitting in an Adirondack chair — running your toes under the powder until they’re two little graves. When your feet burrow past the dry warm sand and reach the damper sand underneath, it’s like that cool part of the covers you find near the end of the bed. The powdery sugar is so cool that you feel an electric surge run up your legs.

And if the toes ever do get too warm, you can always wade — and shuffle — and squish in the shallows. There’s a calming feeling that comes with it, like slipping off your shoes after a long day.

Wildlife also comes alive in the spring and summer. With the rain there are hoards of temporarily displaced insects and little lizards, all scurry to keep from being a drowning meal for some long-necked tropical bird. These are the year-round birds – our exclusive birds. They are the ones that get the most that nature’s tropical rains provide, and they thank us with their omnipresence.

I look forward to the hot summer. I do. Despite the sizzling, water-filled air, hurricane season is something I actually embrace. If you live here, it’s hard to fear a visitor that announces his dubious intent two weeks in advance or otherwise stays away. Would any brave literary sea captain possessed by the ocean change course because of a foretold storm? Perhaps they consider, but they seldom do. The legendary ones never flee, whether nobly or tragically. That wouldn’t be brave — or poetic.

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