We haven’t had any significant rain here for months, and that, in addition to a heat wave for the past couple of weeks, is making me doubt my own propaganda about San Miguel having the “perfect climate.”
It’s been pretty miserable indeed, temperatures up in the low 90s. Not Baton Rouge, Houston or Phoenix miserable, mind you, but uncomfortably hot nevertheless.
The worst of the day comes in mid afternoon, when even the slightest wisp of a breeze vanishes, and the sun doubles down. A couple of days last week we took pity on Félix and sent him home early. I told him he was looking darker than normal, más moreno que nunca, and about to faint.
Around San Miguel there are vast farm fields, on which you can spot distant silhouettes of men, women, and I suspect, even some children, hunched over in the blazing sun, picking broccoli, garlic or whatever. Don’t know how they can stand it.
Yesterday morning, however, as if someone had flipped the channel on the TV, we woke up to cool breezes, clear rather than hazy skies, and predicted highs of only 80 degrees for the rest of the week. Is spring here?
The night before, around nine o’clock, the wind had begun to blow fiercely. The curtains in the living room billowed and blinds in the bedroom banged against the windows. Some windows slammed shut. The ominous rattle and roll made it sound as if the house was about to come apart.
Outside, the row of five slender cypresses in the front patio swayed rhythmically, as if dancing to a samba only they could hear. The wind caught a patio umbrella on the back terrace, trying to rip it free from its mooring, and once again, send it flying. One time a few years ago, a garden umbrella went flying over the house and landed on the front yard.
|Baby cherries, the first ever.|
Then, beginning in the east, the skies suddenly darkened. I swear I could smell dampness in the air. Maybe I was just imagining.
Stew said a nearly imperceptible drizzle was falling, the kind of almost microscopic droplets Mexicans call “chipi-chipi,” and usually precedes some real rain.
“Rain?” I asked, expectantly.
“Rain!” Stew replied.
And then nothing, just a sudden, and welcome, 20-degree drop in temperature.
Last night we had the same teaser. Darkening skies and the banging of kettle drums of thunder coming from behind the mountains south of us.
Rain? Stew got up to check and this time there were some wet spots on the flagstone on the terrace, but not enough to tamp down the dust.
Today, it’s starting to warm up again. Summer may have returned. I’m not going to guess again which season we’re in right now.
However, eagle-eyed Felix picked up a couple of auspicious signs around the yard. Two 10-year-old cherry trees which had never even shown symptoms of fruiting, suddenly have several bluish fruits each.
This surprise might have been caused by our recently installed system for recycling rinse water from the clothes washer and dumping it on the trees outside the garage. A full load of laundry can use 15 or 20 gallons of water per full cycle.
|Shazam! Who would have guessed?|
Félix’s visual acuity, by the way, is really annoying. About eight or ten years ago we had to take him for emergency surgery to repair the retina in his left eye.
The public hospital wouldn’t pay for the surgery, so we paid the $500 dollars for the laser surgery at a private hospital.
After such near-miss you wouldn’t expect him to see that well, but in fact his vision is better than ever, and so is his hearing. I swear, that guy can spot the hole on a bee’s ass.
Vision good enough to find the new fruits on the cherry trees, hidden by the foliage, or hear a mockingbird and then spot its nest two-thirds of the way up an 30-foot-tall evergreen tree.
I realize he’s exactly 40 years younger, but still, it bugs me when he points out things I can’t hear or see. Sometimes I feel he’s rubbing it in, just for laughs.
|Flower of a very common prickly pear cactus.|
Other findings, during a walk in the cool morning air today, were the wondrous flowers of a homely, gangly hanging cactus called Lepismium cruciforme (photo above). Not trying to impress with my botanical Latin; I just don’t know its common name.
This customer is not very attractive; it essentially consists of a thick bunch of leafless tubular branches that keep reproducing and lengthening in all directions.
But then, one day, giant, complex, bell-shaped flowers, vaguely resembling those of a hibiscus plant, emerge from the thorny branches.
The beauty of the flowers is totally incongruous with the homeliness of the plant, but that’s what often happens with succulents and cacti.
Also coming on line is our volunteer pomegranate bush outside the garage. We have no idea where it came from, and we don’t quite what to do with the avalanche of fruit, except squeeze out the seeds and put them on salads.
Also, the prickly pear cacti, of we have several varieties, are not waiting for the rain and spring to arrive, and have been flowering for a few weeks now.
I hear thunder-like noises. The skies are darkening outside. Is it finally going to rain?
I’d go check but I’m not falling for that ruse again. I’m off to a quick nap.