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Looking out my Backdoor: The rain in Spain(ish) and assorted nonsense


November 21, 2019

Rain, “lluvia” in Español, pinging on my Mexican tile roof, sounds like the clatter of typewriter keys hitting the platen. Do you remember that rapidly rattling noise?

Woe is me. These old bones are having a down in the damps kind of day.

Two tropical depressions off the Pacific coast ganged up to slather the sky with black clouds, each pregnant with rain. Rain every single day since my party a week ago. Rain in November! This is the dry season — isn’t it?

I am contrary. In June I drool awaiting the first drops of moisture heralding the rainy season and relief from searing oven of May. With rains come a drop of 10 to 15 degrees temperature.

Winter, like an unwanted relative, has come calling a month early. November rains bring that same fifteen degrees drop on my thermometer — unwanted. Lizards are in hiding. Mosquitoes disappeared.

I want what I want. Dry days and sunshine afternoons, me dragging garden hose from flower to flower. Today I yearn for dust. Me, one who loves rain. Contrary.

Leo came by this morning to make sure I’m still breathing. That young man collects grandmothers like most men his age collect girlfriends. He said, “Sondrita. You go to Cancun sunshine. Slide your magic plastic.”

Fortunately for me and my pocketbook, enough peek-a-boo sunshine heats my solar water device on the roof to keep me at home. My wallet may be flat but I am rich with hot showers and a hot tub.

I popped outside to hang hand laundry beneath my patio roof. An invisible bird spoke to me, “Good grief! Good grief!”

“My sentiments exactly,” I called back.

Full of sorrow. Full of worry. I’m still not recovered from my fall back in September. Cold multiplies pain like a mathematical genius.

(How can we continue to ignore what is happening in our world, our natural world, that is? I could ask the same question of our political world. Good grief.)

I’m not used to being housebound. Color this week dull and gray and cold with pinpoint windows of light. Yesterday and today, nobody came to turn on the light.

The Next Day:

Sunshine, glorious sunshine. “Let the sun shine in, face it with a grin.” An incredibly different day. I am a different woman. Good grief. What is going on?

I go outside. I tour my garden, take note of all the flowers in bloom. In one tiny patch between geraniums, I have baby radishes, about three inches upward. I sit in the sun. Take off my sweater. Move to shade.

My resident creatures are out and about. Lizards and iguanas, sun-bunnies lounge atop the wall. Squirrel, the female with the bent tail, drags off one of the last avocados from my tree. A yellow hummingbird flits around the bottlebrush, poking her/his nose helter-skelter. Yellow? Most of our hummers are a deep blue or iridescent green.

Hurry! Hurry! Laundry on the line. Lunch on the front patio. Rest an hour with my book on the back patio, under the jacaranda. I understand why we worship the sun.

This gift of a day has rolled around to 4 p.m. In the last 10 minutes clouds heavy with promise of more rolled a blanket over the sky. But it is OK. I had my sunshine fix. I welcome lluvia in any language.


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com/. Email [email protected]


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