Thursday, September 23, 2010


I'll say this for the Koreans; they're punctual. The monster rain of two days ago washed away the incessant summer in a single day; the equinox, the First Day of Fall, was the first day of fall.

My run yesterday revealed to me the ravages of the storm. The Yangjae Cheon had subsided, barely, back into its banks, though parts of the path were hamster-deep in mud. The lower expanse of the wooden railing along the ramp down to the stream had snapped off. A manhole cover on the path had popped out of its hole and was resting five feet away. Farther east, the two arched bridges above the water had their railings festooned (actually, "completely covered" is a more accurate description, but one so seldom has an opportunity to use the word "festooned") with dead weeds and orange floats that had broken loose in the water. The swimming pools alongside the stream were coated with mud that had washed down from the slopes above. Trees were uprooted. And I saw a turtle on the path.

Okay, a turtle, technically, is not so much a ravage as it is a reptile. I didn't want to leave the little guy (he was about the size of my hand) on the path, for fear a bike would run him over or somebody would take him home and eat him. (For once, I'm not being facetious here.) (Actually, using "festooned" and "facetious" in the same post is pretty impressive, don't you think? You may think I'm showing off, but I haven't even used the word "detritus".) (And this is my third consecutive parenthetical remark.) My friend, perhaps shell-shocked from the storm, was pointing along the course of the path as if he were walking toward the Han River, six miles away. I figured, though, that he really wanted to get across and tried to think like a turtle, which is quite different from my usual hare-brained approach. I figured he'd moved away from the flood waters and was now trying to get back to the creek, so I picked him up and put him in the long grass near the stream.

(I don't mean to be sexist by assuming he was a "he"; he was wearing black and dark green, really butch colors, so I guessed he's a boy. [How the hell can turtles tell that when they meet each other, anyway?])

Yesterday was gray and cool, maybe a little depressing due to the whole "dead plants and mud" motif; the area was a ghost town, with half the inhabitants on the road for Chuseok and everything but the convenience stores closed. I put on jeans and two layers of shirts in the evening, and later slept under a blanket, for the first time since spring. This morning has dawned sunny and cool and I might even find the energy to chase halfway across Seoul to the Veggie Group picnic.

I have four days of beautiful, cooler, sunny weather ahead before we all go back to school. I intend to use them.

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