What is it about air moving across the face that is so refreshing?
If it is mild of temperature and fresh of content, it is delightful.
Much of the Philippine population lives along the coast, for there is so much coastline here. Second in the world, next to Indonesia. There is almost always a breeze along the coast as the varying land and water temperatures push the air this way and that. Sometimes it is a full-fledged wind, pushing not only the hair back, but the jowls, if you are of such an age as to have jowls.
And on occasion, it is a gale or a typhoon. Those may not be refreshing, but they are exhilarating, for the drama of impending doom. Living on the edge. That's what we do three or four times a year.
My property is partway up the side of a mountain and tending toward the middle of a small island. We can see the ocean over there (forefinger aimed frontwise) and the mountains back that way (thumb jerked over shoulder). Here we get wind from any direction, depending on whether the inter-tropical conversion zone is north or south of us, and if storms to left or right draw winds hither or yon. It is a veritable punching bag for the air, this place.
I've retained several large clumps of bamboo on the property. The huge ones that grow 50 or 60 feet tall. Here they are in the category of weed, or functional plant for chopping down and making into vases or houses. But in America, where they do not grow naturally, you will only find them in exotic gardens, like the Huntington Gardens or Botanical Gardens in Los Angeles.
So I find them rare and elegant, and in 10 years or so, or when the exchange rate returns to some decent kind of pop, I'll order up some fine bronze statues for display amongst the bamboo. I'll ape Rodin's "The Thinker", or Hefner's "Miss May", and allow them to roost against the backdrop of those ever bending, never breaking super-reeds.
Ghosts have no idea . . .
They also shed leaves like a dog sheds fur in May, so the gutter pipes require regular cleaning and the hired hands are forever raking and sweeping.
It is an interesting place for creatures, too, these bamboo groves. Snakes and lizards and spiders and rats, birds and ants. Centipedes. An ecological wonderland of horror.
One of the species of bamboo is poisonous. If you rub the leaves against your bare skin you get a rash that itches like mad for about two weeks. It is rather like poison ivy, 70 feet tall. It has sucked all the dirt from the ground around it, creating a small hollow in the earth that fills with water that bubbles, as if something alive were down there breathing. Or maybe it is a bowl of poison or hydrochloric acid, I dunno. The bamboo's shedding leaves have collected and formed a huge mound of dark holes and mud in the center, sprouting new bamboo rooted 5 feet off the ground. My wife claims Yamashita's treasure is buried underneath that hideous clump of poison, but no one has the courage to go dig there. It is one creepy place.
I like chopping ordinary, non-poisonous bamboo. The kind that does not seek to eat you, just infest your hair with creatures. It only takes a few slices from a machete to fell one, and maybe 5 minutes to trim off the thorny branches. You can sell the stalks for 40 pesos hereabouts. The price is low because the supply is high. But we mostly use them for fencing or cottages, or give them as gifts to the neighbors.
So for you people wondering why Joe Am is happily settled in this crazy, illogical, maddening place. . .
Reason 17: The wind in the bamboo.