God bless Mexico

WHEN I STEPPED outside at 8:30 a.m., the thermometer read 58 degrees.

In July.

In the Olden Days, when I lived in Houston, we would sweat buckets all summer, and I would pray for the first arrival of true Autumn, which I defined as a temperature less than 60. It would invariably show up around October 20, and the city would breathe a sigh of relief and elation.

A friend sent this interesting video yesterday. However, I hope all those Gringos and Canucks head to Ajijic instead of to my mountaintop. We already have too many grown men with ponytails and the sort of women they bond with: Birkenstocks, flower halos and armpit hair.

End of summer

And so we end another summer, my 14th here on the mountaintop.

This one was notable for two things: One, the peach tree dropped scant fruit to rot on the grass. Rare. Two, the yard has become a better man than I. It is beyond my ability to control except in some small fashion.

ArchwayAnd I accept this change. The lawn gets cut, though I no longer do it, and the edges get trimmed, which I do, but with electricity instead of gasoline.

I spend far less time on the stone yard patio, beneath the big green umbrella.

And I almost never lie in the hammock, which still sways in the breeze on the upstairs terraza, abandoned save for the occasional traveling bird.

One’s habits change with no conscious decision. Just happens.

My sister, three years older, once told me that she started to notice age between 65 and 70. At 69 now, I see her point.

The rain this summer has been pretty typical, which is to say daily. Something clicked, however, with a few yard residents. The bougainvillea facing the sex hotel has climbed over the high wall with an attitude.

The nopal cactus soars toward the clouds, far over my head, making me wonder if one day it may decide to break at its soft base and slay me with a thousand spikes as I innocently wander by.

The three tall stands of banana have made their zones their own. Just stay out, they seem to say. And I obey.

I feel many things slowing down within me, and I wonder how many more summers I will look through this window at the blue-green mountains and the clouds that sit atop them and flow through their valleys.