In the lower latitudes there is a particular wind that changes directions twice a year, almost as predictable as the phases of the moon. These are the monsoon winds. Most of us who hear this word think of torrential rains and hot humid days. This is only half true. There are two monsoons; the dry monsoon and the wet monsoon. I never knew this until I moved to Thailand.
In history these wind changes set the trade routes to India and Africa, then on to or from Europe. Even today sailing vessels are bound by the rules of these winds.
As a young boy I heard the word and it imbibed an exotic world that I longed to see. My first experience of the monsoon winds was many years ago in Vietnam, where I was a soldier. Even then the monsoons only meant wet flooding rains and an ease in the tensions of war. I witness Noah’s flood-like rains where 30 or more inches of rain would fall in a 24 hour period—amazing! On one occasion at night during one of these torrents of rain in which I could only see a few feet around me we were overrun by a small group of the enemy. Men moved past me that I could have reached out and touched. At the time I couldn’t tell who they were—only to find out later they were VC soldiers. The attack failed because they also couldn’t see and soon faded back to where they came from. Not one shot was fired.
Now, living in Thailand the word Monsoon still sweeps my mind with the exotic thoughts of the East. Some years you can feel the wind change directions and know that the cool dry or the heavy, hot wetness is on the way. My daydreams play on the wind and my muse sings of strange new things and then implants them in my every thought.
In the main part of Thailand the dry wind come from November to around March. Of course there are religious celebrations for both seasons. The dry brings the cooler weather and easy living to the farmers, but the wet winds bring a time of hard labor to grow crops and a time to endure the heat.
Here in Thailand I live dreams of my youth and it fills my mind with wonder.
Have you ever experienced the monsoon winds? I would love to hear about your experiences.