Dry times ahead?

veranda
Just this very morning.

HERE I SIT on the veranda having just returned from six laps around the neighborhood plaza where, on Thursdays, we always traipse around and through the temporary market that’s erected this day every week.

There are two large fruit-and-veggie stands, used clothing spread atop sheets on the sidewalk, fresh fish — many are still hopping around, wondering where the water went — beans, of course, and ladies selling various foods and munchies. I think what I like best is the vat of oil that fries pigskins.

It’s the smell, which reminds me of my childhood on the Georgia farm.

But the big news of today is that the sky is mostly blue. It did not rain yesterday and, the Goddess willing, it will not rain today … or tomorrow … and so on.

It’s time for the annual rains to halt. I think that would have happened already were it not for the hurricane out in the Pacific. It’s gone ashore now, far north of us, and is petering out, which is what you want hurricanes to do.

It gave us lots of rain and, in the nearby capital city, plenty of street flooding; in some places up to three feet deep. We drove down a street there Tuesday where people had their furniture on the sidewalk drying it out or throwing it away. It reminded me of Houston or New Orleans.

But people in Houston or New Orleans can better bear the financial hit.

But it’s gone now, that storm, and I’m optimistic as we head into the best month of the year here on the mountaintop. November is as good as it gets.

The Day of the Dead is next week, and sugar skulls, etc., are on sale around the plaza downtown. Come visit. Everyone else will be here, it seems.

With a touch of luck, it won’t rain.

Till next June.

The summer flood

IT WAS A lovely day as had been so many in that time between the Last War and when they let the Islamists in.

The European sky was clear and blue as he sat at a sidewalk table outside the historic bistro with a well-constructed cappuccino and a plate of sweet biscuits.

Water began running in the street, lightly at first, but the stream grew, widened and rose. In short order, he, the table and the chair, which was wicker, were lifted from the swept sidewalk, and off they floated, slowly at first.

Velocity increased, and the waters widened more. Within half an hour, he had passed completely from the large, old city and was floating swiftly through the countryside.

The river was perhaps now a half mile wide.

The water was neither cold nor warm but as you would wish it in a jacuzzi on a soft summer night though it was still day, and he could see the shores on either side.

Over there, all was green. There were tall trees and flowers. He heard songbirds in spite of the distance. The other side, however, was dark and dead, scraggly bushes, toppled trees, and he spotted a hungry beast standing stock still, staring.

coonHe was not the only floater. A wooden raft passed on which sat a frightened raccoon. Other people sailed by in the distance, some flailing but many just floating quietly like himself, perplexed.

Cars bobbed by with water near the windows. People were inside. Some were terrified, but others smiled. One car contained three children alone. It raced by quickly, and moments later he saw it submerge in the distance.

tigerTime grew fuzzy as he floated. He wasn’t much of a swimmer, but he treaded water well, and he felt downright good. He thought about this flood and wondered how it happened without rain.

A tiger floated by.

Ahead he saw a curve in the river. It had been a straight shot till now. The curve grew closer, and around he went with a smile on his face, the well-constructed cappuccino and plate of sweet biscuits being the last things on his mind.

End of spring

abel
Abel at work, pushing my lawnmower.

IT’S OVER. Spring has gone, and summer has begun.

I know it’s not the official end of spring, but we march to a different seasonal drummer at the Hacienda.

When Abel the Deadpan Gardener (and neighbor) mows the lawn for the first time, it means summer has started, and it has. The summer rains are easing in. Sweet.*

Abel mowed the lawn yesterday.

Another sign of spring is that two bunches of lily bulbs beneath the ground in what I call the Willy-Nilly Zone** push their noggins above the dirt.

I often think of my second ex-wife when I survey our Hacienda domain. She’s a gardening fanatic and a certified “Master Gardener” via a course offered by the county extension service in Houston. Her yard is nice by local standards.

I see it via Google Street View. It pales, however, in comparison to the Hacienda spread, and I’m not a gardener, neither certified nor master. I’m a rank, lazy amateur.

Our yard tends to itself and only requires stern discipline. This year, more than ever before, I’ve eliminated lots of greenery because it was getting out of hand, berserk actually.

I like the cleaner look. Some of the eliminated stuff was huge, all planted by my child bride who gleefully plants whatever and then goes on her merry way, leaving the fallout to me.

But summer is here. Rains will quickly increase until they become daily. Downtown streets will flood most afternoons. The air will be cool, and the nights romantic.

Philodendron in its niche. Trimmed by me. About five feet high.

* * * *

* I won’t think it’s sweet in waterlogged October. I’ll consider it a curse, but that’s for later.

** The Willy-Nilly Zone wraps itself around the two exterior sides of the downstairs veranda. It’s hemmed in by the Romance Sidewalk. It’s a happy zone for plants because, I think, the proximity to the house reduces cold in winter. In modern parlance, it’s a “safe space” for greenery. Plants are never offended in the Willy-Nilly Zone.