actual sunshine

No one told me, prior to coming to Taipei, that winter is – how to put this nicely? – rather dreary. Day after day of no sun. To be fair, there is often no rain as well, but just as often it does rain. And, it gets COLD. It’s exciting to see the sun this time of year. It means it’ll only take one day to dry my clothes on the line, instead of the standard 3 days, during the worst of the weather.

This week, it’s been balmy with a few well-placed clouds during the day and a slight breeze in the evening – plus nearly no humidity (less-than-usual anyway). Lovely! Perfect weather! Wish it would last a while but I hear that the thermometer is taking a dip downward this weekend again. Guess I’d better get my laundry done…


I wake up to the sound of rain – not the driving pre-typhoon kind, but a wind-blown spattering of drops on the ground, and people, below. The sky is grey and I can see the leaves on the trees on the balcony across the alley and the lanterns hung across the street below moving in rhythm with each other. It’s still quiet out; I smile, remembering that it’s Sunday and that I can sleep in and do a bit of reading (currently David Gunderson’s The Other) before having to clean the apartment and do laundry (my second least-favorite chore).

I do a lot of thinking in my many solitary moments. Some of it practical (how my family and friends are doing back home) and some of it esoteric (the similarities between the native Taiwanese peoples and the native Americans; how people can have so little, by Western standards, and still be so content) or even “deep” (what is the true essence of a family, how we are all connected on some level).

I open my curtains and watch the sky. Now, instead of just a covering of grey, I can discern subtle color changes in the clouds and even variations of the light coming through them. I feel a bit guilty for laying here when I know I should be DOING something useful. I rationalize: I’m following my own admonishment to become more aware of  my surroundings. So, while the buildings aren’t, at first glance, beautiful, they do, after a while, exhibit a staid solidness, as if they know their place in the organization of things. I suppose that part of my journey half-way ’round the world signifies a vision quest of sorts. My place in the world appears to change from time-to-time and I’m okay with that. It feels right to just BE here. Perhaps I have something to offer that will leave a positive mark on my environment.  I know without a doubt that what I’m learning from each new experience is enriching who I am and necessarily changing how I view and interact with my surroundings…

I see laundry swaying on balconies and am reminded of my own chores. The spell is broken and I start my day.

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…