In northern climes, the seasons change with the drastic shudder of majestic trees who shiver naked in the cold, dripping with icicles, and await a spring of budding leaves, flowers, and a summer of vibrant and quickly fading greens. Here, atop ancient lava flows and a still-soggy lake-bed, like life itself, the seasons move slowly.
Winter is barely noticed; marked by a slight drop in temperatures, and the occasional need for a coat or sweater in the evenings. Spring arrives, wet and unforgiving, and a grey haze takes over the city. That is, when you can distinguish the clouds from the smog – and in the distance, Popocatepetl stretches to the sky, covered in a white blanket, but surrounded on all sides by a green cloak.In the city itself, jacarandas are blooming, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Dr. Seuss’ truffula trees – covered in purple blossoms, but without leaves. There are other trees whose blossoms awaken first, of course, but I don’t know their names – some a red, others yellow, a few look like they could be related to poinsettias. The city is awash with color under a gray blanket. And yet, the change happened slowly, imperceptible to the denizens of the city, but perhaps obvious to tourists.
Now, it is summer. The landscape is a lush green, and the rains come less frequently. The last spring blossoms are still visible, and the nopale cactus has come into bloom. The pace of life here has grown significantly slower, with vacations approaching rapidly and national holidays creating gaps in the work schedule.
Produce at the neighborhood tianguis is looking more and more delicious, and the number of boxes carrying imported fruits is decreasing steadily. Now, the market tables are heavy with mamay, several types of mangoes, chicozapote, guava, strawberries, blackberries, papaya, melons of all types, pineapples, plantains, bananas…more fruits than I can possible describe. The vegetable selection is equally delightful, and despite being just a small street market, the variety is impressive. Every Monday and Wednesday the red tents go up, and a gourmand’s paradise is erected.
Summer also marks the election season here. On July 1st, the new president and several members of Mexico’s senate will be elected. Tempers, like temperatures, are rising steadily. Advertisements for classes, concerts, movies and plays are being replaced by election slogans. Everything that can be covered with election posters is – apartment buildings, cars, busses, lamp posts, street signs (don’t try finding new locations at this time of year!), the city is papered like a bizarrely over-sized present, waiting for a lucky – or perhaps not so lucky – politician to unwrap it. Equally prevalent are claims of electioneering and fraud. The students are organizing protests in public and private universities, twitter-verse is being monitored by local newspapers in the hopes of determining who the real winner will be, since many suspect polling houses have been bribed. Quiet meals in restaurants disappear as political debates, commentary, and parody take over.
I am waiting for the elections with the eager anticipation of an outsider. Their results will impact me heavily, but I cannot participate. For the first time, I am unable to voice my opinion publicly. In fact, citing article 33, I am expressly forbidden from participating in political conversations, rallies, protests, etc. in any way. I am mute, but not by choice. I’ve never understood how my husband felt when we were living in the US and he was the one unable to vote. Now, I can empathize. It’s a suffocating sensation. The world around you will change drastically. You have no choice but to be a part of it, and yet you can’t be a part of the process. Stakeholder or not, you are left out in the cold, a silent observer.
That’s all for today. I know I have once again fallen short of 1000 words, but I’ve at least made a start. There’s not much more on my mind at the moment, and I’m not the kind of person who can write just to occupy time and space. I find it droll and annoying. That said, there is one change to announce in the purpose of this blog. I know, I know, I’ve just started writing, so how can I change things so quickly? Right? Well, after conversing with the hubby, we’ve agreed to take the opportunity to write together from time to time – challenging each other to a new topic every day, and writing our 1,000 words together. I’m not sure how many times we’ll actually do this, but we’re aiming for a daily blog on both our parts. Most likely, we’ll end up writing once a week. I’ll do my best to maintain my normal entries on our days off…