Sunday, May 21, 2017

Four Women On The Loose In Guadalajara

Four Women On The Loose In Guadalajara
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            I didn’t want to go. I was still recovering from burning the soles of my feet on the hot sands of Mazatlan. The plan was for Lani, Kathy, Crin and me to go to Tonola for the tianguis, the huge street market, and from there to Best Buy for Kathy to buy a washing machine.

            It’s hard to pass up a day in Tonola. But the bait that hooked me was Best Buy for a shop vac. My house is all brick walls, tile floors. I really don’t need a vacuum cleaner. But you go around the walls with a broom and watch the dust fly. No wonder I am the “Witch of the Rancho”.

            The Tonola tianguis is known throughout Mexico for artisan crafts. Every Thursday and Sunday vendors set up stalls in an area covering several blocks. People from several states in Mexico come to shop. To me, this experience engages every sense. I go; I see; I smell; I taste; I hear; I feel. I didn’t buy a thing.

            My friends bought mirrors with hammered aluminum and decorative tile frames, clay pottery kitchen ware, a bedspread, chairs, garden-pots, lamps, a bench topped with a five-inch slab of beautiful wood.

            One of my Mexican friends says Tonola is “for the people”. On the other side of Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque, filled with high-end jewelry stores and galleries, is for the rich tourists from all over the world. I understand.

            Tonola has streets of cobbled obsidian, dirt parking lots, hundreds of tiendas. Men roam with two-wheel carts. Jose pointed us where to find items and wheeled purchases back to the truck.

            While shopping mirrors, I noticed a woman selling Moringa, both seeds and leafy tea.  The tea is boring. The seeds taste an intriguing bitter-sweet but must be husked.

Moringa will cure or prevent everything under the sun: circulation, cancer, heart, diabetes, digestion. It’s a standard Mexican home remedy. I’ve taken Moringa for a couple years. (I planted a small tree in my garden. Iguanas love it.) My haircutter in Mazatlan said, “Try it.” While I have no intention of living forever, I can verify that my hair is thicker than ever before in my life. I asked the Senora for capsulas. They are easier. She didn’t have any.

Later, we were on the absolute other side of the tianguis, in the middle of a tent of lamps.  Somebody tapped my shoulder. The Moringa woman held a packet of capsulas. I was delighted. Cynically, one could say, she wanted the sale, small though it was. What I felt was that she cared enough for my wants to secure the capsules and then to find me.

Kathy chose a lamp; the pole a metal rod, bent to form a round base, curved at the top in an arc from which hung a four foot cylindrical shade with abstract print in deep shades of brown. We clapped our hands at her find. Kathy wanted a black stand instead of gunmetal gray. No problema. In moments, the man wielded a can of black spray paint and gave her what she wanted.  

From the dusty streets of the tianguis we drove across Guadalajara to Plaza Galerias, the largest shopping mall outside Mexico City. All in Mexico is not “rustico”. From the moment we stepped inside the doors, my small-town-girl jaws dropped. This mall could be in Paris, London, New York City, or Los Angeles.

            Galerias reminded me that Guadalajara is one of the richest cities in the world. People strolled past with more invested in their apparel than I have in my wee casita. The mall, covering acres, houses popular Mexican and American stores as well as numerous international franchises. Up the escalator, gawking like proper country mice, we found Best Buy.

            I’m not a shopper. I know what I want. A small shop vac. A man pointed me in the right direction. I saw. I bought. Maybe it was the hot day. Maybe it was my feet. I wanted to go home.

            What is it that attracts us so strongly to Etzatlan? Perhaps the attraction is that in this village we feel like we have traveled back in time sixty years. There is no mall, no Best Buy, no Walmart. Men ride horses into town and hitch them to the posts in the plaza. We like the cobbled streets. We like that people walk to shop, to visit, to sit in the plaza.  

            We like the people who welcome us with genuine courtesy and respect. People are patient with our cobbled language. In this place of no more than a dozen gringos, they know us, they look out for us. Lord knows, we need looking after!

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

May 18, 2017
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Ups and Downs of the Elevated Life

The Ups and Downs of the Elevated Life
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            For years, I’ve been privileged to be Kathy’s guest, generally on the twenty-fourth floor of the El Moro Tower, fronting the Great Pacific Ocean, in Mazatlan.  

            When we were young and foolish, we might, and I hedge my bets, have run up and down the stairway for exercise; an attempt to balance the effects of the rich food nobody forced down our gullets. We might have. If we were young. And foolish.

            Without hesitation, we head for the elevators. (In all fairness, I’ve never seen anybody exit the stairway aglow in the blush of health, dripping sweat and breathing hard.)

            If one pays attention, one begins to notice certain quirks and behaviors of elevator etiquette. I’m serious.

            Those from the States, Canada and northern Europe enter the elevator, poker faced, face forward, and utter not a word until their destination is reached. And, e-gads, no eye contact! Once off the elevator, they might speak.

            People from Mexico, Central and South America and southern Europe, all ages, enter with greetings, smiles, laughing and chattering all the while. (When did we become such glum lots? Why?)

            I suppose I might be accused of bigotry, but I observe that peoples of northern versus southern European extraction have varying cultural tendencies. Liquor, consumed by the northern batch, does seem to level the playing field.

            My favorite experience this trip was when a family got on the elevator with me, their arms loaded with beach gear, heading down. The father looked over his family and pointing at each child in order of height, counted out uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis. He nodded, grinned at me and winked.

What goes up must come down.

Good-byes make me cry. Good-bye to Anna for an update on Carlitos condition—we are hopeful. Good-bye to Reuben and Sylvia, at the loncheria next to my old apartment, where we had the best and most simple meal we had in all Mazatlan. Good-bye, Ocean. Good-bye, Mazatlan.

            Sunday Kathy, Crin and I boarded the bus with mixed feelings. We love Mazatlan. Hate to leave. We love Etzatlan. Love to come back. From seaside to mountains, down and up.

            Two months ago the hills all around, from Tepic to Guadalajara, began to burn. Wild fires. Old-timers, confirmed by meteorologists, tell us this is the driest year they remember. We had hoped, to no avail, for early rains.

            Out the bus windows, we saw the devastation, hillsides looking like untreated wounds. Many trees in this area lose their leaves in the spring when new leaf shoots force the old leaf to the ground. With dry grasses, crispy-crunchy leaves and no rain since last fall, fires race through, burning where the winds take them. The blackened landscape reminded me of the year Montana burned.

            Once home we scattered to our own casas, dragging zipper-threatened suitcases, twice as heavy as they were when we each left home. Perhaps I neglected to mention we shopped. Necessary shopping, of course.

            Oh, so good to be home. While I was gone, Leo and Josue built me a new patio roof, insulated to deflect summer sun, installed new gate lamps, created a tile roof for a small bodega attached to the side of my house where my propane tank and garden tools reside and replaced my windows and screens, all new, all the way around.

            But, before I could admire the new, I had to tour my garden, touch the flowers, praise my “five dead trees”, now in full leaf and shooting out promises of flowers in two weeks.

            Back to my house. Inside the house, furniture, cabinets, my desk, all had to be moved to install new windows; outside, the flower pots which line the perimeter got shifted. I have work to do to put things back in order. No hurry. I’ll work manana.

In Mexico, “manana” is a flexible word. Maybe in the morning, maybe next week. Today I’ll enjoy being home. Every project on my list for home-fixing is done. At last.

            Hmmm. I wonder if a gazebo could be built around my back yard patio, that corner space beneath the jacaranda. If I had a simple screened gazebo, I could sit in comfort during mosquito and black fly season. I’ll talk to my guys about it.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

May 11, 2017
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Monday, May 8, 2017

Sunshine On The Beach; One Dark Cloud In The Sky

Sunshine On The Beach; One Dark Cloud In The Sky
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            I always like being back in Mazatlan, the town I visited year after year, the town where I lived nearly three years. Familiar places, familiar people, old friends.

            A sadness, a worry, clouds my holiday. You remember Carlos, my friend who drives a pulmonia? He would take me for groceries, for medical care, for important paperwork. He became my interpreter when I needed one. He and Selena helped me paint my apartment. We shared meals.

Three days prior to my leaving Etzatlan, Carlos phoned. Something was troubling about the call. He could hardly speak with me—or the connection was bad—or interference clogged the airways. His message sounded muddled. But he wanted me to know he would not be in Mazatlan to pick me up at the bus depot.

I felt puzzled. I felt confused. Was Carlos ill? Selena? This family had adopted me soon after I arrived in Mazatlan. They took care of me. After I had moved to Etzatlan, Selena made sure Carlos phoned me once a month. She said if I wasn’t happy in my new home, they would come get me, move me back to Mazatlan! That is how much they cared for me.

Julia just celebrated her quincenero, her fifteenth birthday, a landmark occasion in Mexican families. Carlitos, eighteen, is a baseball prodigy. Young as he is, Carlitos has played baseball in international tournaments two years consecutively.

When I got off the bus in Mazatlan, I went to see Anna, Carlos’ family friend who works at the Post and Ship, a woman whom I had previously met. Her son and Carlitos have played on the same baseball team since they were young boys.

Anna told me Carlitos had been in the hospital in Mazatlan for a month. Last week the whole family accompanied Carlitos in an ambulance to a different hospital in Obregon, about nine hours north of here. A cancerous tumor fills his left lung, pressing against his heart. Carlitos cannot walk and is unable to breathe unaided. After tests, doctors began treatment to shrink the tumor this week. Carlitos seems to be getting excellent care. That gives us hope.

It is hard for me to be here without having my friend drive me wherever I want to go. Whenever I show other pulmonia drivers my picture of Carlos, they always break into a big grin, “Oh, Carlos. He’s my amigo.” His family has a lot of supportive friends in Mazatlan. I stop and see Anna every few days.  

More than this I do not know.  I’m worried. I’m hopeful. I’m scared. I’m grateful Carlitos is getting good care. I’m realistic about how financially devastating this is for the family.  Carlos and Selena are with their son, surrounding him with love. Julia often stays with him throughout the night.

Once again, I’m reminded, life is not fair. Me? Sun, surf, and unending shrimp dinners. But my good old reliable Catholic guilt has kicked in and I don’t enjoy my good fortune in the same way I usually do. My heart is with Carlos and family.

I would love to hop on a bus to Obregon and give Carlitos a hug. But the family can better use the money that trip would cost me. Kathy and Crin are pitching pesos into the pot too. Because of me, they’ve come to know and love Carlos. Crin has put out the word to generous friends in Victoria. One of our dollars buys a lot of pesos.

The donation that means the most to me is from Crin’s neighbor, ten-year old Owen, who gave his savings of twenty dollars because he plays baseball and Carlitos story touched his heart.

We give now. We’ll give more. Money helps but it’s not everything. We wish our donations to enable the family to stay in Obregon, to continue to surround their son and brother with healing love.  
Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

May 4, 2017
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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

“On the Bus Again, Just Can’t Wait to Get On the Bus Again”

“On the Bus Again, Just Can’t Wait to Get On the Bus Again”
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            With appropriate apologies to Willie Nelson, I’ll soon be “making music with my friends.” We all know that I haven’t a musical molecule in my body, much as I love a wide variety of music.  But this music to which I refer is metaphorical music.

            Tomorrow I’ll board the posh Primera Plus autobus from Zapopan to Mazatlan where I’ll meet Kathy, who will fly in from Victoria, B.C. Rock and roll! This is a special time for us. Over years of vacationing together, Kathy and I grew accustomed to having a couple weeks of “girl time” to ourselves before being joined by her husband, Richard. However, the last three years, their Mexico trips have been focused, first, in search of a house in which to retire, and then, trips to mold their chosen house in Etzatlan to their needs.

            Don’t mis-read me. I love Richard and I love being with him. But, girl time is different. We talk about things differently. We have different interests. Our timing is different. Verbal intimacy happens. Oh, I can’t explain it.

            Richard retires in December this year. We’ve given that gentle man advance warning, now and then, Kathy and I will need to disappear for a week or two on a girl trip.

            This week we will stay at Kathy’s resort on the beach, spend hours lounging beneath a palapa, banter with beach vendors, a dozen or more of whom we know by name. We’ll nab Carlos for pulmonia rides to our favorite places, the Mercado, the Plazuela Machado, the Angela Peralta Teatro, the Callecita Restaurante. We’ll hop a bus for Cerritos and walk the rocky beach. We’ll be “going places we’ve never been, seeing things that we may never see again”.

            We have no big plans. We don’t need plans. We’ve learned not to make plans because both of us tend, on the way to “there”, to say, let’s see what is over “here”. Often we never make it to “there” but we surely have fun along the way.

            Then, bonus! The following week Crinny, Kathy’s sister, will join us. Oh, look out, World, here we come! “We’re the best of friends, insisting that the world keep turning our way,” and isn’t that what life’s all about anyway, even if the “vacation” is roasting hotdogs over a fire-pit in the back yard?

            Today I’m at loose ends, bouncing between those last minute jobs and being treated by friends as though I’m going on a journey to the ends of the earth. My last load of laundry dances on the line. Leo brought me tamales for breakfast, made by monks who sell them after the 8:00 Mass.

            I meet with the young men to discuss messy jobs they will do while I’m safely out of their way.  We planned it that way—at their urging. I’m sure neither want me poking over their shoulders asking questions, interfering.

While I’m not in their hair, Josue will take down my metal patio roof and rebuild it with a structure insulated against hot summer sun. He will paint the underside marina blue. Leo will chip away the window glazing on all my casa windows. Remember when windows were glazed? This stuff is a horrid, thick black goop, applied thirty plus years ago, dried, cracked and impossible to clean.
I’m glad to vacate my house for these jobs. When I return, the work will be finished, the potted plants and furniture back in place, the mess cleaned up and disposed. I’ll be blissfully unaware of any problems the men might have encountered.

I’ll be gone a mere two weeks but everybody insists on “going away” meals. Ariel and Lani took me to lunch at the laguna near San Juanito Escobedo. Tonight Carol and John are taking me to Casa Blanca in town for dinner. When I get on the bus in the early morning, I’ll still feel stuffed.

Going to Mazatlan from this mountain town is like entering a different country. The ocean instead of mountains. Sounds and sights are different. Air is redolent of sea-mist, heavy, humid, and soft, rather than dry, crisp and dusty. Our ears discern regional accents. The streets are a “different busy”. Sights and people are long-time familiar to us. For Kathy and me, Mazatlan has become a “home town”. It’s all good; it’s our kind of music.

We are of the generation that talk, eyeball to eyeball, hours at a time, without electronic devices. We tell stories and explore ideas. It’s our kind of “music”.

However, we have talked dreamed returning in another life as an all-girl mariachi band. I’ll be lead singer. Kathy wants drums and trombone. Crinny on base. Oh, what a world we imagine!

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

April 27, 2017
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All In Life Is Not Sweet

            All In Life Is Not Sweet
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            John and Carol walked over for Qi Gong on my patio. It’s how we start our day. “How are you this morning?” “Fine, all things considered.” My stock answer when I’m not feeling all that well.

            “We came to tell you the workmen have started bathroom tile. We need to be at the house this morning. No Qi Gong for us today.”

            “Actually, that’s fine with me. I had a miserable night with the smoke.” I wiped my cheeks. Tears have continually washed my eyeballs for the last three weeks that our valley has been hazy with smoke from forest and grass fires; wild fires which surround us.

            There is a tree at the corner of my patio. I wish I knew the name of it, some kind of palm. At the ends of the reaching branches, it shoots out balls of fronds, like many-fingered hands, puffs of palm. We in Montana have it as a houseplant in a pot, usually about two feet tall. At the base of the tree I have a beautiful bed of canna lilies, yellow with orange splattered centers. Instead of my Chinese drill, I watched those dratted iguanas slither down the trunk of the tree and mow the blossoms in gulps. I like watching iguanas. I love my flowers. I try to tolerate, to share, through gritted teeth.  

            Mid-morning Lani and I went to town, lists in fists. There is no one-stop-shopping in Etzatlan. No big-box stores. Finding what we want often requires several stops. Stores are small, shelves packed to the ceiling. The up-side of scattered shopping is that it is a lot more fun and one never knows what one might discover.  

            Fabric to make a curtain for my bathroom doorway headed my list. On our way to somewhere else, we passed a doorway through which I saw curtain panels hanging along the wall. 

            Lani and Ariel are the only residents on the Rancho who have been here long term. The rest of us are diligently working through various stages of construction or remodeling. My larger jobs are finished but there are a few small tasks I’m now ready to tackle. My casita is tiny. Opening inside doors requires room I don’t have. When I moved in, I removed the bathroom door and rigged a temporary curtain looping a rope on ends of a tablecloth and hanging the loops on nails. A year later, I’m ready for a real curtain.   

            I’m a home-made sort of gal, used to making what I need. I was raised that way. Everything in my home has my fingerprints. I intended making my curtain. I also have a basket of quilt pieces ready to stitch together for a bedspread—another good intention, paving stones. I simply haven’t gotten a “round tuit”. 

            Uncharacteristically, I say, “Lani, let’s go in and look.” Around the block we go so we can park near the store. “I want color.” I finger a panel the same color as my canna lilies. “I can live with this. I don’t need to make my curtain-door.”

            Bedspreads are stacked next to curtains. “Is this cotton? I like it. Realistically, I may not get back to my sewing until winter. I’m in Mexico. I’m the new me. I’ll buy this too.”

            Leo, my yard worker, odd jobs helper and resident philosopher, brought proper hardware and hung my curtain. I covered my bed with my new pink-girly-flowery spread. Pink? I never buy pink. I didn’t even like pink when I was eight. I like it today—it freshens the room.

            Later, while I gathered laundry from the clothesline, Leo was across the yard raking a bushel of flower petals from beneath the jacaranda.  The tree is in full spread, a purple umbrella.  Every day for weeks, the tree rains purple petals onto my lawn.

            “It’s a strange tree, isn’t it, Leo? It seems like you are always raking tree debris. A few weeks ago it was the dry leaves. Now the flowers. Next it will drop seed pods big as castanets.”

            “She beautiful tree,” his reply. “She gives you months of green shade. Seeds fall. All in life is not sweet.”

            I wiped my smoke-weepy eyes on the clean sheets and took my laundry in the house.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

April 20, 2017
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Gifts: A Retrospective

Gifts: A Retrospective
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            This morning when I opened my eyes, I saw a bird sitting on the roof of the bodega outside my bedroom window—a beautiful yellow-headed, yellow-breasted, shrill-voiced gray bird with a long curved beak; the beak for, I imagine, digging bugs from bark. “Hello, Bird. Hoy es mi cumpleanos,” I told him in approximately adequate Espanol.

            Today is my birthday. I want for nothing more than this peaceful day. Several hibiscus are gaudy with bloom. My five “dead” trees are in full leaf.  The canna lilies are outdoing themselves. The trim on my casita is freshly painted a deep terra cotta, making my home look like a fairy cottage planted in the midst of a magic garden.

            Okay, so my prose is overblown. I’m allowed. It’s my birthday.

            After coffee I opened my email. A note from Kathy: “Meeting Colin and kids for lunch today to hear about his and Colin’s hike to Machu Picchu in Peru for Noah’s 16th birthday. The stakes are different today. I think I got a pair of shoes on my 16th. How about you?”

            Crotchety old woman that I am, whatever happened to cake and ice cream, a few friends, party favors, modest gifts; party at the celebrant’s home, maybe a simple sleep-over? My grandchildren receive birthday loot that cost more than my kids’ Christmas in total. And the party must be held at an event center—at the least, the bowling alley or skating rink, followed by a restaurant meal for friends and parents. How can the parents afford this? See? I’m crotchety!

            Obviously I failed the birthday party chapter of motherhood. I did not, could not, give my children their every heart’s desire. Therefore, true reactionaries, my children swamp their children with everything they themselves wanted and didn’t get. I’m supposed to feel guilt. And they are supposed to spend thousands in therapy getting over my (inadvertent) abuse. (“But, Mom, you should have known how important the Game Boy and my own television was to me.”)

            I admit we didn’t make a lot of fuss about birthdays in my family. Growing up without a mother, in many ways, I was the mom. I made all the birthday cakes, selected and wrapped all the gifts, even my own.

            One time I had a birthday party, when I turned ten, complete with angel food cake and ice-cream, games I had chosen, such as dropping clothespins into a jar from chair-back height. After games and cake, my girlfriends and I went out to play in the yard. The woods beyond the barn sang a siren’s song. Soon we were playing hide-and-seek among the trees. Meanwhile the parents had arrived to pick up their daughters. The yard was empty.

            We weren’t that far away. We weren’t in danger. We were out of shouting distance. I got into serious trouble. That was my one and only birthday party. My gift was four books.

            By my sixteenth, neither my Dad nor my sister remembered. My Dad wasn’t mean; he just didn’t think of those things. Out of a misbegotten sullenness, I refused to mention my birthday. I made cakes for my Dad’s and sister’s birthdays, with a perverse pleasure, but I didn’t make myself one. To my shame, I carried that behavior on through high school.

            Somewhere along the progression of years, I had a lightbulb “ah-ha” moment. Only one person knows the innermost desires of my heart. Only one person has the impeccable taste to choose what most pleases me. I began buying myself gifts; gifts chosen with love. Then whatever other present I might receive was a delightful bonus, even if the gift was an electric skillet or a ratchet driver set.  

            Yesterday I went to an artisan shop in Teuchitlan, along the street headed to the Guachimontones pyramids. While carrying a selection of tourist items, this shop caters to those who are looking for special items.

            I bought myself two birthday gifts. One is a sculptural rendering of the North Wind. I situated him among my potted plants and re-named him the “Northwest Wind”, According to his direction. The other is a replica of a pre-Hispanic goddess of the corn. She sits among my geraniums.

            By the time my kids hit middle school, their birthday ‘cake” of choice was often pie or even cookies. Today I made myself biscuits, simple ordinary biscuits. I ate them with mango jam and drank coffee laced with milk and chocolate.

            To answer your question, Kathy, for my 16th I didn’t get a blessed thing. But for my birthday today, I have every gift I could want.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

April 13, 2017
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Expect The Unexpected

            Expect The Unexpected
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            My days are never what I think they are going to be. No, that doesn’t quite express what I’m trying to say. Life is full of surprises. That’s an inane cliché. My tongue can’t find the right words. I’m not in charge. At times I think I am. The joke always turns on me.

            My life is like my bread baking. I glance at a recipe from time to time. But I know the basic ingredients and about how much flour, yeast, sweetening, salt, and butter to mix. Then I might add dry or fresh herbs, potato, egg, chopped onion.  It may contain a surprise flavor or texture, but it is always good bread.

            I’m learning my garden, becoming intimate with the wants and likes of plants strange to me.  Take those five trees, the ones which will bloom with delicate purple clusters, the ones I planted against my new wall last fall. They died. I tell you, they died. Well, no surprise to me. They sat, roots wrapped in their plastic bags, for two months before the wall was finished so we could plant them. They looked fine, well, a little shocked and stunted, until one day they dropped all their leaves.  
   
David from Centro Vivero, my garden guru, delivered a batch of new geraniums. I dragged him to the back yard and said, “See, dead.” He examined them closely and said back to me, “Not dead. Winter.”

Around the first of March, David was delivering bougainvillea to my neighbor. I grabbed him for another back-yard examination of my five dead trees. “Are you sure?” I asked. He looked carefully at each naked tree. “Another month,” his reply.

I had a serious chat with said trees. “I’ll give you until April first. If I don’t see life, you’re out of here. I’m not fooling.” Sure enough, one by one, each tree burst into leaf, the last one pushed our leaf buds March 30.  Today all are bushy. What do I know? Not much.  
    
My social life is much the same pattern. I figured once Pat and Nancie went north for the summer, Crin came and left, I’d be alone, like a monk in the desert. This week, which I was certain would be devoid of activity, I’ve met five new people. I went to a party on the Rancho. I went to another party in town. I accepted invitations to two different dinners with different friends, different days, at a lake near San Juanito Escobedo. Some cloistered life, eh?

Mexico operates on the old Daylight Savings Time schedule.  Saturday night we set our clocks forward. What a joke. Clock time is such an artificial boundary. I’m fortunate. I operate on sun time. Because I can. I have no office, no school, no obligation to be up at a certain hour. Except that I do have obligations, of course. I like to think I don’t.

We meet at 8:30 in my back yard for Qi Gong. Our group has dwindled to three: John and Carol and myself. Nancie and Jim both are back in the cold north. We still meet at 8:30. My yard. The sun is up at 6:45. So am I. But this week 6:45 is 7:45, clock time. My body is geared to get up, get dressed and groomed, watch the sun rise, make my bed, and enjoy coffee with a good book. When 6:45 is 7;45, I get up, get dressed, maybe comb my hair, gulp water, get out the door to the back yard in time to meet John and Carol coming in the gate. Clock time and body time are all a-muddle. 

This morning I was set to scrub the bathroom—spring cleaning, one room at a time. Lani called to see if I wanted to go to San Marcos to pick up the obsidian cap I had designed for my antique Chinese paint brush. Clean bathroom or trip to obsidian craftsman? Is there a choice? Then we drove back into Etzatlan for breakfast at the Cadillac Hotel. Ah, life.

Then comes night and I have to stay up an extra hour before I can go to bed because the sun is still bright and I work on the theory that dark equals sleep. Oh, botheration.

But, you know what? I’m not complaining. That misplaced hour translates to several pages in that book I set down this morning. My body will adjust. Friends will come and go. Plants will flourish or not.

Then in the fall I get to gripe in reverse.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

April 6, 2017
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