Tag Archives: stars

Change of scenery

houston
Where I lived for 15 years. Houston.
street
Where I’ve lived for 17 years.

THE FIRST five years of my life, I resided in the countryside, a farm not far from Sylvester, Georgia.

The latest census puts Sylvester’s population at about 6,000 souls. Lord knows what it was in the late 1940s when I was toddling around there in the dirt.

My current mountaintop pueblo is home to about 80,000 folks, dwarfing the population of Sylvester, but 80,000 is a far cry from the 6 million you’ll find in Houston’s metropolitan area or even the 2 million in the city itself.

Before moving to my mountaintop, Houston was where I lived and worked. I don’t work anymore unless you count pulling weeds and watering veranda potted plants.

I play and relax.

The switch from Houston to this mountaintop pueblo was a drastic move. I’m a big-city boy. And my child bride is a big-city girl. Why are we here?

Lack of communication.

One morning, about two years after constructing and moving into the Hacienda, we were sitting on the veranda in our wicker rockers, talking. We discovered that we’d both have preferred settling in a big city.

How did we not know this? Answer: I assumed she wanted to live here because relatives live here, especially her favorite sister. She assumed I wanted to live here because I was here and had moved here intentionally.

But we never discussed it specifically. Dumb, huh?

Why not sell the Hacienda and move elsewhere? Actually, about that time, I did advertise it online, and got an offer for twice what we had paid to build this place.

But I chickened out because I love our home, and there is a large city nearby, the capital down the mountainside. But, aside from weekly Costco shopping jaunts, we rarely go there.

We’ve become small-city folks. But every time I see a photo of Houston, I sigh. And she likely does the same when we make our twice-a-year visits to Mexico City, which is where she lived when I found her.

But we can stand in the yard on dark nights and see stars from horizon to horizon. And I never heard roosters at dawn or burros anytime in Houston.

Just occasional gunfire.

* * * *

(Note: We’ll be home this afternoon from San Miguel de Allende where we fled on Sunday to avoid the worst of Carnival in our hardscrabble neighborhood.)

Night oxygen

starsOFTEN I AWAKE, usually temporarily, about 5 a.m. or so.

If I’m on my side, I turn to face up. If sufficiently awake, I take a deep breath. No matter the month, the air will be cool to cold at 5 a.m. And the air is remarkable, nice.

There is no central air at the Hacienda, of course. It’s pure mountain air. It is clean. There is no heavy industry here or anywhere hereabouts. Virtually none down the mountain at the capital city either. The air here is how the Goddess made it. It smells real good.

Here is another thing:  We see stars. I never saw stars in Houston, of course. Not a prayer. I remember decades back at my grandmother’s farm in Georgia, I would stand in the yard nights and oh-so-many stars. You don’t get that in big cities. Too much light competition and pollution.

If you’re out in the Hacienda yard on a cloudless night, there are stars from horizon to horizon. You spot dippers big and small. The moon is as it should be, from a sliver to full, depending on its druthers.

In Georgia, fireflies were common. They’re rather rare here, but sometimes you see them too. But it’s the air that’s particularly striking, its clarity, coolness and good smell.