One of Panama’s driest dry seasons in the past 10 years is finally over. Since the dry spell lasted more than four months, with only one storm that ol’Jack knows about, many people have been hoping for rain for a while. That single rainstorm, by the way, occurred just as some friends from the States arrived, who thought we were crazy when my lovely wife and I insisted, “this never happens.” Thank goodness, other people we encountered agreed that the downpour was quite the exception to the rule.
Usually, I’m a skeptical type who’s always careful about what I hope for. However, this year’s lack of rain was making most of Panama’s reservoirs look like my beer mug at the end of a long evening. Soon the electric grid would have been without hydropower, which would have meant that our computers, TVs and air conditioners would have been off all the time instead of just some of the time.
Actually, most residents prefer the rainy season. Tourists, on the other hand, desperate for fun, can’t risk a single day of precipitation, which would ruin their plans to acquire the type of suntan that would make their snowbound friends back home white with envy. (Some snowbirds have never experienced a wet season and simply think of Panama as a desert isthmus.) Citizens and expats who live here year-round enjoy the rich green foliage knowing that it doesn’t rain all day and often there’s only a thunderstorm in the afternoon and the rest of the time it’s sunny and clear.
The point is, everything grows during our longer “winter” season. The large plots of blackened land that just a couple of weeks ago had all that dormant, brown grass, magically transforms itself back into a lush lawn after only a shower or two. This is something one of our neighbors up in the mountains didn’t seem to understand. She watered every day in spite of the voluntary water conservation measures by the rest of the community. Soon, no one will notice her green stain of shame because all our lawns will need to be weed-whacked.
By December, most of us will probably be looking forward to a breezier, dryer time, but for now we welcome the wet, wonderful nectar of life that brings us new growth and, oh yeah, wakes up the bugs.