MY CHILD BRIDE headed by bus to Querétaro Monday morning on family business, but I stayed here at the Hacienda.
It’s always strange being here alone. There are aspects to it that I enjoy, but the negatives outweigh the positives. I’ve grown accustomed to her face.
About 7 p.m. I headed outside to walk about the yard for no other reason than to stretch my legs, but I noticed yardwork that needed to be done. It was still light out, but the moon loomed in the sky. It was day and night.
I grabbed clippers and trimmer. First, with clippers, I removed some aloe vera flowers on stalks that had lost their will to live. The moon watched.
Dropping the clippers, I turned to the hedge trimmer and rounded two of the smaller bougainvilleas, the ones that are still controllable. Then I bent over and pulled some weeds at their bases, weeds that I should have pulled weeks ago.
I’m getting lazy. Years ago, I would never have let those weeds grow to that extent. You get older. You cease to care about some things.
I was in my pajamas, or what passes for my pajamas. Flannel pants with Garfield the Cat all over them and a black T-shirt from Lands’ End.
Getting darker out and feeling that I’d done enough yardwork, I came in for the traditional evening salad and foccacia bread.
The Goddess willing, she’ll be returning tomorrow afternoon.
And evenings will be normal once again.
WHEN WE built the Hacienda 14 years ago, we installed a motion-activated light out in the carport. When we drive in at night, it illuminates a nice section of the yard.
It goes out after three minutes.
Alas, that light only exists when we arrive from the street. When we walk out of the house toward the carport at night, there is total blackness on moonless evenings.
You can’t even see the sidewalk.
Now, after all these years of stumbling around in the dark out there, I hired an electrician who installed another motion-activated light just where you see it in the photo.
I am a slow learner. Perhaps a bit stupid.
Now, when we exit the downstairs veranda heading thataway, the light flicks on, and the path ahead is unmistakable.
There to the rear where you see a raised stone-and-concrete semicircle is where there was a humongous stand of banana trees. I had them removed two years ago.
Hanging on the wall is a big ceramic frog. That’s aloe vera to the left, and a towering nopal tree to the right with a big maguey in the nearer, right, foreground.
Looks a little spooky at night.
I’m really proud of the new light and wonder why the Devil I didn’t install it over a decade ago.
There’s another motion-activated light in the Garden Patio out back if you’re ever thinking of sneaking in here.
THIS PHOTO appeared in my mind this morning, lying in bed before dawn listening to distant howls from glue-sniffers (that or something similar), a common occurrence on weekend nights here in the barrio.
I am atop another bed,* one I inherited from my maternal grandmother, in New Orleans about 1978. By the look on my face and the glass in my hand, I detect that I was five sheets to the wind, as I often was in those distant days when not at my duty station at the newspaper, and sometimes even then.
I am (Good Lord!) sporting polyester shorts, and I weigh about 225 pounds, the heaviest of my life. But, as you can see, I am not really fat. I am simply very big. I don’t know how I pulled that off. And the shirt is a baby-blue guayabera I had purchased in Puerto Rico a couple of years earlier.
Now I weigh 170 tops, am a teetotaler, own no polyester or guayabera, and there is not a black hair on my head. It all went silver like the Lone Ranger’s horse. Colors change. Lots of things change.
* * * *
* I used to go to sleep as a child on that very bed next to an open window in rural Georgia, listening to crickets singing in the nearby grass under Southern moonlight.
The night was as black as his fur, and he was lying in a human bed, a new and engaging experience since he was accustomed to dirt, twigs and the occasional gnawed and bloody bone.
He wasn’t sure how he got there. He simply opened his eyes, and there he was atop soft white sheets with moonlight streaming through the bay window nearby.
He swished his tail, which is something he always did when he felt good. Lots of things made him feel good. A sure-fire dinner between his teeth. His kittens. His female.
And now this, white sheets.
He twitched his mustache and wondered.
He was in a strange new world but he was not afraid. The bed was as soft as his woman’s back, his kittens’ ears, the neck of a wolverine as he snapped it.
He admired the moonlight, then closed his eyes and returned to sleep . . .