Early blackbirds

DSCF1770
Upstairs terraza photographed in some distant springtime.

I CALL THEM blackbirds, but they’re really just soot.

Every springtime the rural folks in these parts burn dry fields, and this produces soot like you wouldn’t believe. Some days it’s like black rain, but with “drops” the size of feathers. And these fall into the yard, drift into the downstairs terraza and, of course, the upstairs terraza.

But it’s not springtime, so I don’t know what the Devil’s going on, plus it’s not falling anywhere near the quantity that drifts down in true springtime. No matter. Here it is. Like shedding blackbirds.

This morning, before 8 a.m., I decided to sweep the upstairs terraza before going downstairs for bagels and Philly cream cheese light. The feathers were plentiful, and I disposed of them.

Speaking of blackbirds, we have real ones, lots. There are ravens and black vultures and grackles. The ravens and black vultures — that sometimes circle high above in scores — I enjoy. The grackles, no. Those big, black blokes land in the birdbath and splash all the water out. It’s not neighborly.

If only I owned a shotgun.

* * *  *

The Angry Corner

Ouch

THIS IS THE angry corner, and I have no one to blame but myself.

Every springtime the yard gets a good going-over. This entails removing lots of stuff. If it’s frozen over the winter — and it often does at night, but not so far this year — the amount of dead stuff to be cut is considerable. I do much of it myself, and then hire someone to haul it off — to somewhere.

But even during this (so far) mild winter, plants must be cut. The lower, drooping, limbs of the fan palm, nopal, lots of banana leaves, maguey fronds, which grow endlessly and cussedly.

I have taken care of most of that this season. The only place that I keep procrastinating about is the Angry Corner. Years back, I planted a sole, small banana tree, about 18 inches high. And then I planted a cute little maguey, the yellow-green one, that we bought in a nearby village. And I clipped a piece of aloe vera and stuck it into the ground one day. And let’s not forget the sole pad of nopal cactus, four or so inches high.

Flash forward a decade. The stand of banana trees simply takes up lots of space, but those other things are armed, huge, and dangerous. It’s a risk even going near. I’m trying to work up the nerve.

* * * *

Mexico City

WE’LL BE HEADING to our nation’s chaotic capitol soon for a few days. It’s a necessity. Pay some bills for our condo. Dust and mop. Air it out. See what’s changed in the neighborhood. Eat some caldo de gallina in a new restaurant just three blocks away.

And we’ll try to make some headway with getting the condo’s deed into our hands, yet again. We paid it off years ago, but it was purchased from a government agency. Many arms of Mexico City’s government have improved immensely over the years, but the agency handling our deed is mired in the inefficient past.

Don’t try any funny stuff here while we’re gone. The two rottweilers, Rolf and Rachel, will be on duty. We don’t leave food, so that keeps them hungry and on edge. It might get ugly.

Dust ‘n’ time

IT IS SPRING, and that means dust, so much dust that we keep the living room windows shut.

birdBut it’s early, and we just have dust, not the black cinder shards that will fall in a few weeks more when the country people start burning their fields in earnest, so much so that you’d think we have hundreds of ravens overhead instead of the usual handful of real ones.

These charred “ravens” fall on the downstairs terraza, the upstairs terraza, the yard patio, everywhere, and all must be swept up, save those sitting on the grass. They are left in peace to dissolve.

We’re about to begin our 12th year in the Hacienda. We moved in during Springtime of 2003. I’ve never lived in any house longer. The next longest time was 10 years in Florida, from age 7 to 17, when I  finally escaped from high school and started my shenanigans which only ended in recent times. I ran out of steam.

And we’re also about to start our 13th year of marriage, our 12th anniversary being later this month. I have never been married to anyone so long. First wife lasted a bit over five years. The second about 10 years, though I lived with her nine years before we made it legal. Gotta bust that record.

I love living in this house, and I love living with whom I live in this house.

If you’re not satisfied with your situation, try and try again. In time, you will land upright, smiling.

Dreams of June

hammock

I celebrated June First, after a fashion, by lying in the hammock for an hour midday. It was sweet and something I rarely do anymore.

My child bride was putting final touches on pastries, then bathing and dressing in preparation for Saturday’s bake sale out of her basket on the plaza.

The Kindle slowly slid from my fingers, and fell to my chest.

* * * *

As I opened the glass door to the shower stall, a raven flew in through the open window. Shocked, I screamed: Get out!

Why?  he shot back, shocking me even more.

Regaining a touch of composure, I asked: You can talk?

Sure, he responded. We are the brightest of birds, something even you humans know. We and pigs have high IQs, which you humans find disturbing.

That is why you associate us with death and pigs with filth. It makes you feel better about yourselves. It’s the pigpens that are dirty, not the pigs trapped inside. It’s all your fault. Set pigs free. They are our fast friends.

Forget pigs, I said. Why did you fly into my bathroom?

I saw the vapor, and I have never enjoyed a sauna. This is my chance, I told myself, so here I am, standing on your ceramic sink, the raven replied.

Stepping to the black bath mat, and toweling off, I told him: Go ahead.  And he did. He sailed down to the drain hole and stood there in the warm dwindling mist, ruffled and sighed. I sat naked on the toilet seat, watching.

The raven did not overstay his welcome. After a few moments, he flapped back out the window through which he had entered, uninvited.

* * * *

I‘m ready,  I heard my bride bellow from below. I opened my eyes, swung out of the hammock, put on my Crocs and headed downstairs. It was a beautiful first day of June. And a raven flew overhead without saying anything at all.