“Green, Green, It’s Green They Say. . .”
For the past three weeks it has, indeed, been greener on the far side of the hills surrounding our parched valley. Rains come in June, the local people tell me. And the rains surrounded us, in Ahualulco, San Marcos, Magdalena, Ameca. We in Etzatlan sat high and dry.
Our last rain fell in October. Every day I scoop sand dunes off my floors. I worry. Is this a drought? June is nearly done and gone. What will we do for water?
I grew up worrying about weather. I learned from my Dad, leaning on a shovel at the irrigation ditch, scanning the sky for any hint of cloud. I have too much history of the rains that never come. Even twenty-five years in the Seattle area, land of perpetual drizzle, could not—did not—cure my weather worry.
Our household water is delivered by gravity flow. Each day the pressure dropped. Each day watering my extensive garden took longer. Some blithering idiot went crazy planting flowers in pots. What was the woman thinking? I walked around my casita and counted pots—95! I am embarrassed. Perhaps my gardening obsession got out a wee bit of hand.
Our tiny colonia is situated on the corner of Rancho Esperanza. Streets are nothing more than dirt driveways. After eight months of no rain, dust devils are common. Yesterday I saw a rat in the philodendron alongside my patio wall. Rats are moving in from the corn fields, newly plowed and planted. Today I captured a rat in a bucket. Poor rat. Dispatched.
Humidity climbed exponentially. One day 4%. Then 34%. 51% seemed too much to bear. Next day, 67%. Moisture saturated the air. Temperatures in the muggy high 90’s. Clouds moved in. Clouds moved out. Clouds moved all around and about.
Until, Glory, Glory, “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
The first drops evaporate on contact with my concrete patio. Thunder rumbles. Sky lights flash. Wind delivers more than empty promise. An hour later every leaf, every blade of grass glistens with diamond flashes in the setting sunlight.
I go to bed to the music of night storms. But I don’t sleep. I have a strange mixture of emotions, hard to decipher. Apprehension when thunder crashes overhead and lightning surrounds me in every direction. My little house has wrap-around windows, no curtains, so I live open to the elements. I get up and close windows on the east and north. Wind shifts direction. I get out of bed again, close windows to west and south. Open. Close. Apprehension mixes with joy, sheer exuberance that the rainy season is begun. Three times the rains drop down blessings that first night.
My yard looks like a park. Every plant has drunk its fill. Flower pots clustered on my patio are saturated. A dozen kinds of birds are mining the grass in my yard for bugs and worms. No need to drag hose from place to place today. Instantly the temperature dropped fifteen degrees. I inhaled deeply. Why does earth wet with rain smell different than rain wet from a sprinkler? Why are flower scents stronger today? Why do the hummingbirds act drunk?
Late afternoon, clouds roll in, the show begins, small rain. But in the night, a steady pattering, two hours, three hours, soak. The green of grass and shrubs is so bright and intense that one needs shades, even in the shadows. Two nights of rain and the land appears rejuvenated.
By the third stormy night I’m able to sleep through the rock and roll. I know each evening will bring sky activity from now through October. The locals assure me. I believe. I’m so easy.
HDN: Looking out my back door
June 29, 2017