The Long Dark Morning of the Soul

*written on Saturday*

It’s not too often that I feel the need to blog about the weather, but today was quite the exception. I had woken up this morning too early. I started to make breakfast, but decided to just try to force myself to go back to sleep until the alarm went off. The next thing I knew, the alarm was going off… and it was nighttime. “What on Earth…?” I thought to myself. How did I manage to sleep another 12 hours until 9:30 pm?

Then I realized, it had to be 9:30 am, because that’s what my watch and alarm both said. And yet, the sun, which had duly risen mere hours before, was gone. I instantly thought of that Twilight Zone episode where a town wakes up on the day of a man’s execution, only to find that the darkness of night had permanently blotted out the sun. When I first woke up, there was the typical, misty-looking smog that seems to envelope Beijing nine days out of ten. But plenty of light. Now, something had changed.

What happened was that the rain storms that had been forecast were far more severe than any of the forecasters had predicted, and we had a massive storm all morning involving thunder, lightening, and most of all wind and a downpour. I’m guessing that the storm was made all that much worse with the smog already present, at least when it came to visibility, and I don’t even want to think about the acidity of the rain water itself.

So, that’s why Allison and I didn’t bother going to the Forbidden City today. Perhaps on Monday. Allison and I met up later and just did lunch, coffee and shopping instead. Mostly inside. She tells me that her host dad said he’s maybe seen Beijing like this once before, over ten years ago. Beijing has proven to be quite arid, and precipitation of any kind is unusual. Something this crazy, with nighttime-like-dark going on for the better part of the morning, was awfully bizarre. Well, it’s no tornado, or record snow fall, but it beats the constant smog, that’s for certain.


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