A person named Lee posted this well written piece on TomZap and it so reminded me of my 'Barrio' that I asked him if I could re-post on this Blog. Lee hasn't posted much in the past but did post two more of equal quality until one of the TomZap know-it-alls chastised him for glorifying the age old tradition that the locals partake in of harvesting the local fruit that is readily available and not always on public property. Sadly it's been over month since we've heard from Lee .....
I live in the Barrio where there is more dust than beans and tortillas combined, and where the lingering smell of smoke from evening fires with its distinct aroma of burnt almond leaves and rubbish permeates the still air. I am surrounded by music and neighbours; sun dried laundry hanging precariously from barbed wired fences.
The Barrio wakes with the rattle of vehicles on dirt roads, barking dogs and the repetitive announcements of gas and water trucks delivering their goods. In the empty lot next to me, two unbroken horses add voices to the cacophony of roosters and radios and garbled messages from speakers secured to the rooftops of cars. This is the song of the neighbourhood - distinct notes in a chorus.
Yesterday, a trio of errant cows mingled outside my door; the day before a horse trailing its twenty foot tether stood awaiting a bucket of water, its lips moving in anticipation. The doors to my house are open. I have an unobstructed view of my neighbourhood, apart from the metal bars on the slider that prevent my own dogs from becoming roaming miscreants. My garden teems with bougainvillea and hibiscus, roses and climbing vines bursting with bright yellow flowers. The palms tower over the frangipani, their fanned fronds brushing the delicate blooms releasing the most intoxicating fragrance. The jasmine climbs the wall to the staircase and I stoop daily to water the single pineapple growing close to the earth. Soon I will savour the sweetness of its flesh - my reward for nurturing. The 'Nancy Tree' is in bloom - deep orange blossoms, and soon the yellow balls of fruit will laden the branches. 'The Nancy' and I have an awkward relationship. I loathe its incessant falling leaves which scatter about my courtyard; I adore its shade and sweet fruit and the grandeur of its stature.
It is nearly time for the daily ritual of sweeping the road with a straw broom - an action which at first seems absurd and futile, but in fact is extremely effective. This to be followed by the watering of the street - the most primitive form of dust control, and a delightful way to socialize.
Afterward, I will warm corn tortillas on the open flame of my gas range and top them with dollops of re-fried beans and spicy salsa. My daily bread so to speak. If the back tire of my bicycle continues to hold air, I will ride to el centro for an ice cold Pacifico and a caballito of my favorite tequila. A table in the shade, the breeze of the lagoon through in my hair.
This is where I live. This is where I'm alive.