The orchid peach

AND ONWARD we slog through the overly warm afternoons and evenings of May.

Praying for rain.

But there are fun distractions. One is the orchid peach. It’s my own invention.

Here’s the recipe: Take one peach tree. Any tree will do, but I use peach. It’s out there.

Tie orchid bases to the peach tree. That’s Step Two. Patience is Step Three. Most of the year, they just hang there, but in Springtime they bloom.

These orchids grow wild in the area, attaching themselves to trees — they’re parasites — and in Springtime, vendors walk the streets and stand beside highways, selling them.

I try to purchase at least one a year.

They can grow high, making it difficult to grab them. Once, a couple of years ago, a tall part of a tree on our main plaza broke off and thundered to the sidewalk. Nobody was hurt.

But the hunk of tree lying on the sidewalk was chockablock with blooming orchids. People went at them like a pack of wolves. I happened by after most of the orchids were plucked.

Darn!

This year I purchased yellow, a first. All the previous orchids on my peach tree had been pink. You like a little variety in your orchids, color-wise.

The blooms in the photo look a little weary. That’s because they first erupted weeks ago, and they’re just about pooped out for this season. You can see my new yellow one.

The orchid peach. My own invention.

Patent Pending. Or not.

The fan man

art

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THE TOP PHOTO is a huge mural you’ll see on the main drag as you drive toward the state capital 40 minutes down the mountainside.

The other photo is the individual in question. He is our town’s most notable character, a position I doubt he is aware of even though he’s been the topic of numerous artworks. He even hangs in galleries.

He is incredibly grungy. One wonders where he sleeps nights, if he even has a home. His clothes, his hat, appear to have been dredged from beneath the municipal waste dump

I do not know his name though I have spoken with him a thousand times.

He’s a sidewalk peddler, and what he peddles are straw fans, perhaps to cool your face on warm afternoons in spring, or to fan embers of a dying fire for our winter nights.

The mural has him smoking. I’ve never seen him smoking.

Here’s the routine: I’m sitting at a sidewalk table with Kindle and cafecito. Here he comes. Buy a fan, he indicates. He usually does not speak, just waves the string of fans and grunts a bit.

I say I already have purchased two, which is true, years ago. He replies that I need a third. I say no. He will continue pushing until I say the magic phrase: Maybe tomorrow. That always satisfies him, and he leaves.

For another shot of the fellow, go here.

La vida buena

AS AMERICA sinks daily into a deeper sea of racial strife, political snit and socialism, it’s fun to kick back and smile due to living elsewhere.

That elsewhere, of course, is Mexico, a nation on an upward trajectory. If you do not live in Mexico, here’s a lovely video to make you wish you did, and if you do live here, you can gloat and feel smug, as I do.

The video, a series of photos actually, was made by Jack Brock, a wood sculptor of considerable renown, who once was kind enough to pay me a visit here on the mountaintop.

It was also Jack Brock who inspired me to buy my new Canon camera recently. He has virtually the same camera, his being a bit more modern, a tad more pricey. No matter. Both take excellent photos.

The video illustrates Mexico beautifully, and the soundtrack is perfect. It’s important to point out, however, that it’s tropical Mexico, the coastal variety, which is a fine place to live if you enjoy heat and bugs.

The alternative to coastal Mexico is the nation’s interior plateau, the zone of “eternal springtime” you read about. That’s where I live. Here’s a photo taken near here with my old, funky camera a few years ago.

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Souvenirs of Mérida

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WALKING PAST the living room this morning, I noticed how sunshine through the big windows fell on these little framed prints that we purchased last January in Mérida.

They were about the only souvenirs we brought back from the Yucatán, not being big souvenir people. And they were not purchased so much as souvenirs as they were purchased because I liked the three little prints.

One is an old woman just sitting. Another is a woman washing clothes in a big pot over a fire. The third is an old couple sitting on a concrete love seat. We spotted those concrete love seats in many parts of Mérida, in parks and plazas. I have never seen them anywhere else.

One evening we were walking the nice, dark streets near the Casa Alvarez, the downtown guesthouse where we stayed in a penthouse room, very nice place to stay if you’re ever in Mérida, by the way, and we happened upon a bunch of shops and restaurants abutting a plaza.

That was where I found these three prints, which I bought immediately. They were cards really. Perhaps there was a place for an address and stamp on the back. I don’t recall. But if you put most anything in a frame, it rises to any occasion with a new-found elegance.

They are hanging now next to the stone fireplace in the living room.

It was my first — and last — extended stay in Mérida, but it was not my real first. That happened back around 1975 when I was working on the San Juan Star  in Puerto Rico. The newspaper’s union, run by a pack of pinche communists, went on strike, and it looked to be a lengthy one.

The devil, I said to myself, so I packed my bags and got on a plane to Haiti. After a few days in Haiti, I got on another plane to Mexico City. That flight first landed in Mérida, and everybody on the plane was hustled off to get shots against any Haitian cooties we might be carrying into Mexico.

I never got out of the Mérida airport that day, but it did count as a visit to the Yucatán, I think.

Mérida is an okay place, a nice Colonial city that looks pretty much like all Colonial cities in Mexico, something I wrote about shortly after returning home from that trip. It’s quite touristy and very popular among Gringos who are smart enough to move across the Rio Bravo.

I could never live there due to the climate. I have sweated enough in my life. And there are no mountains. Living without mountains is like eating a pizza without anchovies. It’s no pizza, a sham, a joke.

It’s midday now, and the three framed pieces have moved into the near-constant, cool dimness of the living room where they will not be very noticeable until tomorrow morning, assuming it’s not overcast.

Amazing how three postcards can inspire this many words.