hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Early Spring

The first day of spring brings forth wonderful costumes on children who are in either first grade or kindergarden.  On the drive to the office, the taxi passed numerous butterflies (mariposas) and a number of head-to-toe lions and tigers and other wildcats.  To me, spring arrived with Candelaria on the second of February, but it’s all just a matter of perspective, isn’t it?

IMG_1004Today was also the graduation ceremony for the ESL students at the NGO and as a member of the board of directors I was asked to give a short speech.  This is exactly the type of thing I’ve avoided my entire life.  I did give it thought, which I usually don’t do in these situations and it went well enough that the President asked if I’d leave a copy of the speech so that the other three speakers (there are four ceremonies) could use it.  Of course I was flattered.

An acquaintance, Erica – one of those magical women who exude female positive energy without a trace of artificial sweetness – asked whether I intended to stay in San Miguel permanently and I offered my usual “I don’t know, it depends” answer.  Then, on the walk from the NGO office to the Biblioteca for my customary lunch there (grilled chicken salad chased by chocolate cake), it occurred to me that I probably am here for the duration, whether I admit it or not.  There is a sense of me being in this space at this time, of being satisfied by the very smallest details of life, even by the inconveniences as they really aren’t inconveniences at all, they are simply wrongful expectations; of welcoming the heat when it comes, the winds whether dry or wet, the rains in their time, the cold stones of January.  At the ESL gathering today somehow Fabiola was able to brighten a dreary, plain concrete block room with table cloths of various colors.  The other day on the street I passed one of those butterflies, a girl with pink wings attached to her back who extended her arms and flew ahead of her mother.  I think of improving my Spanish language skills, finally.  I think about the paperwork of becoming a permanent resident.

The weather is predicted to be in the low 30s (90s Fahrenheit) during the day over the weekend, which is wonderful as 32 here is unlike 32 anywhere else I’ve lived; it is pleasant – at least until May when humidity sometimes accompanies the heat.  But that is then; today is gorgeous.

Karla Bonoff


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