The age of dust

WE ARE IN The Age of Dust. It lasts, more or less, two months, April and May. There is also the Age of Rain, the Age of Freeze and the Age of Loveliness.

That last one runs from November until late December. It is the Age of Loveliness because it has stopped raining; it is not freezing, and there is no dust to speak of.

It is neither hot nor cold. Our world is green, and the sky is blue. It is like that little bear’s porridge, just right.

The Age of Dust rivals the Age of Freeze as the worst of the year, but even those two Ages are pretty swell because this mountaintop is a wonderful place to live.

April also brings our wedding anniversary, 14 years now. Of my three marriages, this has been the longest even though I lived with my second wife for 19 years.

We were married just the final 10.

My Mexican child bride and I had known each other just under six months when we wed in the interior courtyard of her sister’s home on the main plaza.

We did not know each other very well, in large part due to the language barrier. My Spanish was still marginal, and her English was nonexistent.

But we took quite a shine to one another, and 14 years later it’s turned out just fine. I’d do it all over again.

Here’s a photo from the evening in question:

wedding

It was a low-budget affair. We didn’t even hire a photographer. A friend took pictures that were mostly useless.  A professional wouldn’t have that mystery hand in the photo.

There were about 30 guests. There was dancing, pozole and music, part of which was provided by this fellow:

We were married in the Age of Dust, and one day we will be dust, the both of us, likely me first, of course.

But it’s been a spectacular time. If you marry often enough, eventually you get it right. Dust doesn’t matter.

The winter scalp

New Image
See spouse standing at rear for perspective.

IT’S A YEARLY ritual, the scalping. Sometimes it’s more drastic than other times. I do it personally, the cutting, not the hauling away. I hire help for that.

The gardening situation here on the mountaintop, more than 7,000 feet above the faraway seas, is problematical. Things grow wildly during most of the year.

Then winter comes, sometimes calmly, sometimes not. Last winter was calm. This one is not.

When winter is calm, a minority of them, plants have a two-year span of glee. This is particularly so for the bananas, which are totally out of place here. Till the first freeze last week, they had soared up to 10 or 12 feet with wide trunks to match.

The freeze burned them to a crisp, well, actually, to a brown sag. Luckily, banana trees, no matter their height, are easy to cut. I use a small pruning saw. Though easy to saw, they can weigh a lot, and they come thundering down.

I dodge like Cassius Clay, like a geriatric butterfly.

Years ago, I drove to the tropical town of Uruapan and bought two cute little banana “trees” in cans. I planted one next to the house, and the other by the Alamo Wall. A friend who had lived in Florida said, “bad idea.” Stupidly, I ignored him.

It was like a ghetto household in Detroit. Babies appeared faster than I can count. I transplanted one out next to the street wall, giving me three banana gangs. In time I hired workmen to put cement restraints around the bases.

Now I have lost all patience. As every year after a freeze, I have cut them down, leaving stumps that rejuvenate themselves. But workmen come next week to cover two of the three mobs with cement and stone. I’ve had enough!

Another troublesome plant that also does not belong here, but is beautiful most of the year nonetheless, is the golden datura, which is also easy to cut.

It wilts quickly in a freeze, and I whack it back to its base. Like bananas, it rejuvenates in springtime.

The photo at top should be panoramic to show the pile’s true dimensions. It’s the biggest ever. Tomorrow two guys come with a pickup to haul it away, somewhere.

Two scenes

OneTHESE TWO musicians were part of a group playing in the plaza yesterday. I was struck by the face of one of them.

And it froze Saturday night, as it often does in winter — wish it wouldn’t — delivering a death blow to the banana trees, which will have to be cut down and hauled away.

They will self-resurrect, a mixed blessing. I took the photo below from the upstairs terraza early Sunday. You’ve heard of a smoking gun. This is a smoking umbrella.

steam