HERE I SIT on the veranda, just in from the morning walk around the neighborhood plaza, something I do most days to maintain my boyish physique and high humor.
I am an ideal object of envy. No job. No money worries. My health is good. My wife is young and beautiful. The weather is wonderful. Waffles and maple syrup (100%) await.
Birds sing. Burros bray. Horses neigh. Dogs bark. Hogs oink. All within earshot, night and day. And last night till 2 a.m., musicians howled on the plaza, so we slept with earplugs, something that doesn’t warrant envy, alas.
Hereabouts 11 a.m., the sky is blue and white. The temperature is 69. My utility bills are low, and my grass is high, green and damp. My wives are all alive and my daughter too.
I have no dogs, no cats, no outstanding bills, and both of our cars run smoothly though they could use a wash. It’s the rainy season, a constant battle for self-respecting vehicles.
The waffles are ready now, I’m advised. The maple syrup too, the daily second breakfast around the hour of 11.
It’s an enviable position in which to find oneself.
PLACES, LIKE people, change over time. I climbed the circular stairwell today to take this year’s roof shot. The one I posted recently in black and white on Mood piece was a photo from a couple of years ago.
The horse shot was fresh though.
We’re off to Palenque, Chiapas, for a week later this month. Will be my first visit since 1999 when I flew down there from Houston to attend an entheogen conference. It’ll be interesting to see the jungle again.
It won’t be interesting to sweat, but there’s no avoiding that.
On returning we’ll start some work here at the Hacienda. The driveway up from the street, behind the stone wall and not visible in the photo, will be renovated with a nice mosaic design. The windows looking out to the upstairs terraza need lots of work and varnish.
There’s a weed-filled dirt strip that runs the width of the property between our back wall and the street surface that we’re going to fancy up with rock and cement even though it’s not our land. Community service.
And we will replace the toilet downstairs. The current johnny was purchased in the talavera capital of Dolores Hidalgo in 2002. It has a painted desert scene all over it.
Though interesting and lovely, it’s a bit undersized and has never been very practical. We’ll replace it with something modern from Home Depot, and the old toilet will start a new life as a planter in the yard.
AUTUMN ARRIVED last week, and yesterday — driving down the mountainside to the state capital on a shopping binge — we spotted the best sign of fall hereabouts: Pink fields.
Our pink fields ever remind me of the springtime fields of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush that erupt in Central Texas, something I miss, that along with good barbecue sauce and pho tai.
But summer here is defined mostly by rain, which arrives in June usually and departs in October usually. The rain has been hesitant of late, the last week or so, as if trying to decide if continuing is worth the effort.
Let us pray not. Now and then, it rains on the Days of the Dead, the first days of November, really mucking up our graveyard traditions and disappointing the tourists who bring money to our tills.
But despite the expanding afternoon sunshine, it’s still overcast in the mornings. Stepping out to the upstairs terraza just after dawn, both the white horse next door and the distant mountains are gray and glum. But that does not last long, a temporary mood piece.
COWBOY HATS improve all women. An ordinary woman becomes beautiful beneath a cowboy hat. Beautiful women become spectacular. Debra Winger in Urban Cowboy is a classic example.
A Mexican sombrero is a cowboy hat from another country, but the effect is the same as you can clearly see up top.
The woman in the sombrero is astride a horse. She was in the street yesterday during our Independence Day festivities. As you can see in the photo below, she also has very long hair, another thing that improves an ordinary woman but makes a beautiful woman spectacular.
A woman astride a horse also wins additional points.