Let science say what it will, deep down inside anyone who's ever been caught in the middle of a storm knows that storms are supernatural.
Of this I was reminded when I woke up yesterday to a persistent whistling. With the morning still dark and grey, I searched around the apartment groggily for the culprit. It sounded like a child who had been given a pipe, and excited as he was, he played it tunelessly and tirelessly. Finally, I traced it to the door.
I put my hand to the doorknob and pulled. It held fast, as if someone was pulling at the other end, desperate to keep some secret. I pulled harder and the door came free. There was no one there.
Ignoring the overcast skies, I proceeded with my morning routine. By half past seven I was out of the building, on my way to class. The strong winds gave me pause. I looked up, saw the billowing clouds fleeing ominously from some invisible pursuer. I have never seen clouds move so fast before. When the Apocalypse comes, I am sure it would look eerily the way it did.
Wisely, I went back into the shelter of the condo. In the hallway, the invisible piper kept up his whistling, and poltergeists disharmoniously competed, clanging at the pipes. All day it would be like this, but the cacophony seemed a small price to pay for safety.
As it turned out, the rushing clouds and mischievous ghosts were merely harbingers for what was to come. By ten o'clock, the storm had built up in force. I simply stared out the window as it sent banshees of wind and rain to embrace everything in its path. In the distance, I saw spectral horses gallop down the side of the building.
Trees bowed. Lampposts knelt. Buildings swayed in tune. Dissatisfied with this worship, The Storm flung bits and pieces of siding about. I saw them flying at the same level from my perch on the 24th floor.
Perhaps I should have been afraid, but I was transfixed, at moments even gleeful. It's easy to be so when you're dry and cloaked in the illusion for safety. "Look at that!" I said to my sister as another sheet of plastic passed flew by. We both laughed, amused. We were lucky our window was parallel to the path of the wind, instead of full in its path.
What about those less fortunate? By day's end, the storm would leave many a work-a-day hero stranded. Some people would lose their homes. Some people, their lives. Yet that could I do? When a storm comes, it comes. One hides in the best place one can think of. That's it.
As it turns out, the storm was equally merciless to the rich. Travelling down the length of EDSA today, I found no Kris Aquino or Heart Evangelista or Claudine Barretto or Cindy Kurleto to assault my senses. There were no cellphones and notebooks to tease me, there were no lean and svelte models to seduce me. Where once their symbols demanded attention, only skeletons remained.
The Storm is a jealous god. It brooks no lesser idols. It tore through their symbols and broke their altars. I could only approve. Stripped of billboards, EDSA never looked so clean and appealing.
A storm, science tells us, is the confluence of many factors. It's combination of the spin of the earth, the pull of the moon, the turn of the tides, the humidity of the air, and the temperature of ocean waters, in short the play of high pressure areas against low pressure areas. My modern self tells me this.
But in the heart of the storm, I revert to a primeval self, fearful and wondering. There I see the storm for what it is.
An act of God.