Saturday, April 8, 2017

Expect The Unexpected

            Expect The Unexpected
            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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