Karen wrote a great post about the coming of the seed catalogs to her home in Montana, where she lolls by the fire dreaming of the coming of spring. I am here to tell you that in my pueblo of Jocotepec, spring is here! And it didn’t just stroll in, it arrived with all the subtly of Lady Gaga walking into a room full of Republicans!
This is no kidding around spring. This is an in your face, look at me, I’m here spring! Here around Lake Chapala, Jalisco, most of think us that we have three seasons: the hot, dry season which normally lasts from about the beginning of April to the middle of June; the rainy season, which lasts from the middle of June to the end of September or to the middle of October; and the cooler season lasting from the end of the rainy season until the beginning of the hot season.
But this year, things seem to have gone a bit awry. The rainy season, which normally tapers off from full blown thunderstorms to a few sprinkles, shut down one day in mid September as if all the clocks in the heavens hit the 5pm mark on a Friday afternoon. There might as well have been a blazing sign in the sky that read “Rainy season is now closed.”
So we dawdled through the rest of September into January with fabulous temperatures and no clouds in the sky. Then, for about three weeks we got into the cooler season. What that means here in lovely, downtown Joco is that we actually had to sleep with a duvet or two on the bed and even the male Canadian snowbirds were sometimes seen in long pants.
But about the beginning of February, the daytime temperatures here shot up to almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I wasn’t ready for it to be so warm so early. February is the month when folks from around Lake Chapala make their way to the Pacific coast to start warming up their old bodies again, just like I did when I went to Manzanillo to visit with friends.
Homes around the lake don’t normally have any kind of central heating or air conditioning because they, for the largest part of the year, don’t need it. So while most of you NOB would say “oh, for cripe sake, 40 degrees isn’t cold!”, we here at Lake Chapala DO find it cold, both because we are more acclimated to warmer temperatures and because we have no way to “take the chill off” when it gets that cool.
So by February, most of us are cold all day because after crawling out from under the covers, we never really get warmed up during the day. But this year was different. Almost as soon as the calendar flipped to February, the temperatures flipped, too. We went from highs in the low 60s to highs in the high 70s. And by the middle of February, we were reaching the 80s during the day.
We weren’t the only living things aware of this early heat wave; the plants were too. And plants being plants, they demonstrated their awareness by growing like weeds [yes, an ironic metaphor, I realize].
So, while Karen sits by the fire and happily devours her seed catalogs, here are a few pictures of what the plants at my house are doing. To paraphrase Robert Browning, “oh, to be at Lake Chapala now that spring is here”: