Downstairs in my kitchen

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The right temperature

It's the hot season in Cambodia. May will be hot too. But each day is different. Some mornings it gets hot early, while on others it stays pleasant until ten or so. In the evening it might cool quickly or stay hot until nearly midnight. So far, however, it always cools off at night.
Our house

Yesterday evening, about six, I tool a stroll to the front gate of the compound that the house we rent is part of. Actually, I was taking out the garbage, but everyone knows that writers don't take out garbage, so I was taking a stroll, communing with the universe. Those are things writers are expected to do, and I intend to represent my group proudly.

It had been a hot and still day, but suddenly I noticed that the temperature was absolutely perfect. I didn't recall a moment when it began getting cooler,but clearly, while my attention was elsewhere, it had dropped to a perfect temperature. Now don't expect any numbers from me in either Celsius, which is what we use her, of Fahrenheit, as  if I had a thermometer it would most likely be in whatever oblivion I assigned my watch to many moons ago. Time and precise measurement don't fit this kind of living well. The very idea of quantifying pleasant is, well, unpleasant.

Pretty much every day, since it likes regularity, the Kampot sun sets behind Bokor Mountain, which is behind our house. If you guessed it was to the West, you've been paying attention. When I returned to the house from my stroll, and the garbage mysteriously taken care of, I was still enjoying the evening, so I hung out on the porch. I noticed our neighbor Andreas standing in the yard looking at something. He pointed behind my house.

"The sky," he said.

I looked and saw a yellow orange sky, fading out as the sun set. I should mention that he is from Sweden and the idea of sunset always being at six is a bit of an adjustment for him, even though he lived for a time in Thailand before coming here.

This morning was cool. We eat a breakfast of fruit on the porch and look out at the river. Some mornings are too hot to sit long, but clouds rolled in from Viet Nam with no Visa whatsoever and blocked the direct sun. The weather pattern is already shifting. The clouds were coming from the Northeast and now they are from the Southeast. Perhaps the rains will come soon and May won't be so hot.

We find that it is easy to deal with the heat when you become aware of those magic moments when the temperature is perfect. It's easier to deal with anything that isn't going well when you see the magical light of sunset and sunrise surprising you with its choice of colors and patterns.

Perhaps I am easily amused these days, but it feels like a gentle time.