Morning Musings

When the power goes out, as it invariably does here in Merida, you are left with contemplating life without electricity, which we (or at least I) take for granted every day.

Making my morning coffee, I am lucky enough to have a little French press that makes coffee for one and a half; a perfect morning starting size for me, what Starbucks might call a venti. Also, like most Yucatecans, I use gas in my kitchen which facilitates the heating of the water for said coffee, coffee harvested from the highland plains of  Costco, sold under the brand name Gila and already ground and stored in my freezer.

Speaking of freezer – and fridge – these must be opened and shut quickly, so as to conserve whatever cold temperatures are inside because one never knows how long these power outages are going to last.

Having charged the laptop throughout the previous night, I am able to write this morning without the distraction of the internet, as the modem is powered, again, by electricity and that little WiFi icon on my screen is blocked by a bright red cross, kind of like one of those AIDS ribbons. As I am typing this, and this is so coincidental as to be downright weird, Microsoft Works (with ads) pops up an ad for National AIDS fund with, as luck would have it, a red ribbon.

For a few days now I wanted to write about some of the wildlife one can see in ones garden if one doesn’t opt for the popular method of slashing and burning all local vegetation on ones property in order to build ones house.  This morning is a good opportunity to do so.

Leaving local trees and plants like the dzidilche, jabin, chaka and even the spiny, twisty catzin, can reward you with a cornucopia of local fauna that will frequent your garden and make sitting at your kitchen window a National Geographic moment, without the ads.

Besides several species of local birds, most prominent among them the k’au, or grackle which delights in surrounding our homes indoor (open to the sky) patio and diving in to the dogs dish to scoop up dog food nuggets and taking them to the pool where they are dipped in water to soften them up before swallowing, there are a few larger animals as well. How the heck do they learn this complex physics concept of a liquid softening up something hard? I have probably mentioned this before so forgive me if I am repeating myself but these birds blow me away with their smarts!

Occasionally, herds (for lack of a better term and without the internet where shall I look to find the correct name) of squirrels invade the treetops, jumping from branch to branch, scurrying along the edge of the roof and leaping great distances to traverse the entire back yard in about 5 minutes, chattering loudly and excitedly. The tree branches rustle and bounce, the dog goes crazy trying to get at them and the show is over in a very short time indeed.

Two days ago, cleaning the leaves and debris tossed into the pool by Karl, the blowhard who didn’t stick around and made his way to Veracruz, I noticed a snake near the edge of the water. About a meter long, it was reddish brown and looked perfectly harmless. As I considered my options, it moved very quickly and sinuously into the pool itself and, head raised triumphantly, slithered-ly swam to the opposite end where it popped out without any effort and disappeared under some rocks. I think about the times I have swum in the pool at night, in the dark without a care in the world.

Yesterday, sitting in this very kitchen and typing on this very computer, a movement caught my eye. Straight ahead of me, perched vertically on the bougainvillea trunk beside the kitchen window, was a very large iguana, dressed in a shade of gray (as usual) and bright green (very unusual) as it had been sitting in the bright green branches above. As I looked around for a camera, it continued downwards and made it’s hip-wiggling way across the lawn to yet another set of rocks where it vanished.

The power has returned and the silence has been broken by the hum of fans, motors, compressors and the neighbors mozo vacuuming their vehicles. The good news for me is that I can upload this post as well as take a shower and get on with my day.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

5 thoughts on “Morning Musings

  1. I’ve observed the k’a’awo’ob with great amusement and have come to the conclusion that they are a very intelligent species with a very complex society of which we know nothing about.

    It only makes sense that a bird with such a wide range of vocalizations is capable of expressing (and understanding) a great number of things. Even sarcasm.

    I’ve also seen them express passive-aggression while bickering over scraps of pizza crust in the Costco parking lot.

    It’s also very interesting to me that the k’a’awo’ob of different regions make very different sounds. Make a trip to Baca, which isn’t far from Merida, to visit the Thai restaurant and you’ll hear vocalizations you never hear in Merida.

    I have a favorite spot for getting an evening snack where I can sit outside and watch them settle for the night into one of the trees along the Paseo. I imagine the screechings translate to something along these lines:

    “Did you see what Bernice did to that guy eating sopa de lima in Parque San Juan?”
    “Oh, yeah, that was awesome. Who are you going to vote for in the k’a’awo’ob elections?”
    “Hey, everybody just shut up. It’s time for bed.”
    “Yeah, shut up!”
    “You shut up.”
    “No, you shut up.”
    “Who’s standing on my head?”

  2. I will have to pay closer attention to the sounds of the k’a’awo’ob on my next visit to Baca. Somehow my sense of hearing is overpowered by the sensory assaults on my senses of smell and taste whenever I am there. I don’t understand it…

  3. We had the water line break on our house in July, and it took a week to fix. I can’t say I noticed any local fauna as a result, other than the very local microbial fauna, but we appreciated the rain like never before.

    As the water started to pour off the roof, we grabbed the soap and shampoo and enjoyed an overdue shower al fresco in the backyard. How did our species survive all those millennia without regular bathing?

  4. Grant – how did the neighbors take to the sight of foreign visitors bathing al fresco across the wall? Or were you concealed by a broken-glass-topped concrete block wall?

    And we survived just fine, apparently, taking our social cues from the aromas of each others non-bathed bodies. 🙂

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