The crack of dawn

YEARS AGO I would get out of bed between 5 and 6 a.m. Often I would have thought of something to write here on The Moon. But even if I didn’t, I would wake up early.

It’s said that you require less sleep as you age, 5 hours or so instead of 7 or 8. I was living the stereotype. But that changed a few months ago, and now I sleep in till 7 a.m. I don’t know why. The Savings Time switch didn’t help matters. I don’t want to rise in the dark.

It’s getting dimly light by 7. If I wake before then, say 6:30, I just lie there and listen to the sounds. Dogs, chickens, birds, the occasional burro.

They all wake with me, my morning amigos.

One thing I do not listen to is my child bride who makes absolutely no sound whatsoever while she sleeps. It’s quite strange, like I’m lying beside a corpse.

Since it’s May, the bedroom window is wide open. When we hit the hay around 10:30, it’s stuffy, so I turn on the tower fan, which is a very nice fan. It’s got a timer, and turns off around 2 a.m., which is when the atmosphere changes, starts to get cooler.

We first encountered a tower fan in a hotel eight or more years ago in Valle del Bravo where we overnighted during a detour driving to Mexico City. It’s a popular getaway spot for Mexico City residents. We’d never been there. We left the next day unimpressed.

The best thing we took away from Valle del Bravo was the memory of that tower fan. We finally bought one a year ago.

The view through our bedroom window is lovely at dawn, the plants and shadows combined with the animal sounds get the day off to a great start. And, of course, waking to a new day is desirable at my age, not guaranteed.

While my child bride sleeps like a corpse next to me, I don’t want her to have a real one next to her on any morning, but that will happen one day, I suppose.

But it did not happen today.

Instead of a corpse, she’ll have a croissant. And so will I.

The nearby capital city

WHEN I MOVED to Mexico 19 years ago next month, this is the city in which I initially lived — above a garage.

Unlike most folks who relocate below the Rio Bravo, I did almost no research beforehand. What investigating I did was almost entirely hunting online for a language school that was not too far from Mexico City.

I had a girlfriend of sorts in Mexico City but, not being a masochist, I did not want to live in the chaotic national capital.

Here is the language school I found. If I had decided on a different language school, I would have moved to a different city, and everything that’s happened since would have happened differently.

I stayed in the capital city for just eight months before moving to my mountaintop town of about 80,000 souls that’s located 50 kilometers to the southwest up a modern, four-lane highway.

Having the big city nearby makes living in my hardscrabble backwater considerably more bearable. We drive down there once a week for shopping, a good meal and the occasional odds & ends.

Our dentist is there, and our internist too.

My child bride did post-graduate study in Madrid in the mid-1990s. She often would get irritated at Spaniards who believed Mexico consisted entirely of dirt roads and burros.

As you can see from this video I found yesterday on YouTube, we are far from being just dirt roads and burros. We do have dirt roads and burros, but we are much more than that.

In many respects, living here is better than living above the Rio Bravo.

Change of scenery

houston
Where I lived for 15 years. Houston.
street
Where I’ve lived for 17 years.

THE FIRST five years of my life, I resided in the countryside, a farm not far from Sylvester, Georgia.

The latest census puts Sylvester’s population at about 6,000 souls. Lord knows what it was in the late 1940s when I was toddling around there in the dirt.

My current mountaintop pueblo is home to about 80,000 folks, dwarfing the population of Sylvester, but 80,000 is a far cry from the 6 million you’ll find in Houston’s metropolitan area or even the 2 million in the city itself.

Before moving to my mountaintop, Houston was where I lived and worked. I don’t work anymore unless you count pulling weeds and watering veranda potted plants.

I play and relax.

The switch from Houston to this mountaintop pueblo was a drastic move. I’m a big-city boy. And my child bride is a big-city girl. Why are we here?

Lack of communication.

One morning, about two years after constructing and moving into the Hacienda, we were sitting on the veranda in our wicker rockers, talking. We discovered that we’d both have preferred settling in a big city.

How did we not know this? Answer: I assumed she wanted to live here because relatives live here, especially her favorite sister. She assumed I wanted to live here because I was here and had moved here intentionally.

But we never discussed it specifically. Dumb, huh?

Why not sell the Hacienda and move elsewhere? Actually, about that time, I did advertise it online, and got an offer for twice what we had paid to build this place.

But I chickened out because I love our home, and there is a large city nearby, the capital down the mountainside. But, aside from weekly Costco shopping jaunts, we rarely go there.

We’ve become small-city folks. But every time I see a photo of Houston, I sigh. And she likely does the same when we make our twice-a-year visits to Mexico City, which is where she lived when I found her.

But we can stand in the yard on dark nights and see stars from horizon to horizon. And I never heard roosters at dawn or burros anytime in Houston.

Just occasional gunfire.

* * * *

(Note: We’ll be home this afternoon from San Miguel de Allende where we fled on Sunday to avoid the worst of Carnival in our hardscrabble neighborhood.)

The perfect time

bedroom
Smaller bedroom window.

NOVEMBER, THAT IS. It’s the perfect time here, not that other times aren’t swell too, but you can’t beat November.

There’s something strange about our perfect time being ushered in by the Day of the Dead when we embrace and drink to the notion of death and mortality.

But don’t dwell on that. November is almost upon us. And why is November so sweet? Because the summer rains have ended, but everything is still fresh and green.

Plus, frigid winter hasn’t arrived.

Friday morning was full of chores while my child bride was out working in her pastry kitchen. Chores for me, that is.

One was window-washing which inspired me to shoot the two photos. At the top is the smaller window in the bedroom, and at the bottom is one of two huge, dining room* windows.

Note the very green grass. People have asked me online why in the world I have a green lawn in Mexico, that it makes no sense. I guess they expect dust and burros.

The grass makes sense to me, especially now that I don’t mow it anymore. Someone else does.  I just admire it.

And sometimes I clean the windows for a better view.

kitchen
Big dining room window.

* Why is dining room two words while bedroom is one word?

(Note: The stained-glass items hanging on the bottom window were made by the two of us about a decade ago at a trade school in a nearby town. There are much larger ones hanging in the living room window.)

(Note 2: An astute observer might notice the black dot on the middle pane of the bottom photo. That’s a very small piece of broken mirror my child bride pasted to the spot. She uses that little mirror to pluck her eyebrows under natural light. Women are strange sometimes.)