And the nights grow long


It is my October song, of the days growing short and the nights going long.

Autumnal equinox last month in the northern hemisphere reached the equal measure of daylight and night, the polar cap tilting northward into less sunlight and the long night of arctic weather. On Saipan, it stayed overcast and cloudy with monsoon rain ready to burst into a spurt almost daily.

CUC finally got Finasisu connected to the grid. But our nights before were hot, humid, and long. Not surprisingly, my thoughts went the direction of the darkening shadows.

We started with the typhoon’s death knell by the reef at the Sugar Dock beach, looking for seashells after the typhoon that found us floating toward Tinian instead. Then we shared a Seattle colleague’s collegium on dying after a diagnosis of leukemia that gave him at most two years to transition from “being here” to the “journey completion.”

Mid-September, we finally resumed our long awaited walk on the pathway the distance from Oleai to the JP center where the Tribune staff hacks a daily. 

Walking the edge of the lagoon shore when the sun heat was too overwhelming in the now predominantly bare pathway, awaiting the new tree shoots to get tall enough to provide shade, the accumulated beer cans and plastic bottles against the retaining pathway wall was a plastic bag recycling pickers’ delight. 

A backpack blower cleared the debris as members of Parks and Recreation chopped and sawed off the downed trees and branches, along with cutting the verdant but overgrown grass. I saw the tree I planted with Japanese Rotarians between the waterless toilet and the tank at Quartermaster Road covered and then mowed. 

There was a 5×3-inch stump cut to the grass level so I refrained from intoning my Requiem to a Fallen Tree until I see what happens next; noticing that the nearby pines have new shoots, perhaps my tree will grow again if spared the cleaners’ lawn mower. 

Most of the tall green lampposts are still down, the walking green light guides near Beach Road dislocated, though I know that was the case long before Soudelor. Mind you, we will use the excuse of the typhoon to refurbish a sterling tourist and local asset, the pathway. One side of the rails that cross the creek on Beach Rd. and Alus St. is down but I am sure P&R and DPW do not need me to tell them their jobs.

Going entrepreneurial, I had time under my own management and frequenting the pathway again was not a bad choice to make. I was actually set to rejoin PSS and engage high school students in their classrooms on a jaunt and a romp of world history and geography. I did not get the chance. It would have been a great valedictory to the institution I served a few years back.

But I got my entrepreneurial venture on language and tours started so there will be other venues to interact with audiences on historical and geographical matters. There is no shortage of tutorials for English learners, and we are combining English immersion tours on Saipan for China-originating audiences, so twining language learning and island touring offers new adventures.

I went to my local bank and car dealership where I already hold a three-year lease on an economy five-seater to add a seven-seater 4×4 (our optimism slip showing) to handle the more challenging terrain through the boonies’ back roads (a friend with his ATVs do not mind keeping the roads looking “wild” and primitive).

Soudelor actually hampered many businesses, even of our favorite Russia-U.S. couple at The Shack. Our venture reeled as well, with many tourists from China cancelling, so our trip to the local bank was also to see if we can avail of a loan to get our operating expense covered, our confidence showing when we added the second vehicle. Yes, Mariya of China, I will focus on the language studio. We are creating a global Odyssey of the mind, a romp on Earthrise consciousness and a swing on Earthbound commitment while immersing language learners in English, touring the island spots in our paradise.

Perspective has become more important in how we relate to reality, looking at a glass half-empty or half-full. Reality does not change but perspective (and attitude) plays a significant part in how we act. I shall now refrain from wallowing too much in the long shadows of the night and concentrate on the bright light of the day, and perhaps, even catch up on our sleep at night when we get more of it. The nights are longer awhile!

So, how are your nights? Recall your sense experience, express your feelings and recall your thoughts, and appropriate its gifts on your deeds. Then tell someone about it. You’ll taste the meat of your days and nights again, and you might savor a more refined taste on second serving.

Autumn on Saipan is neither kind nor unkind. It just is. October’s reality will just be, still leaving us only with our attitude. This is the life we have. We can live this life or throw it away. This is the life we have. We live!

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at

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