The air here in Ursulo Galván is dusty, though days have started to cool a bit: clouds are starting to drift into the sky softening the sun's brilliance. It seems horribly dry. Dust seeps into the house, covers plants along roads and paths. Nothing seems to be growing, only holding on until it rains.
We may find it dry here, but it is lush compared to the high valleys sloping south and west down from Perote. It is always green where we live, even when it is droughty. I feel as if I'm bursting out of a tunnel when we come out onto those high, dusty plains. I'm reminded of some of Juan Rulfo's short stories set on the plains of Jalisco. This quote is from Nos han dado la tierra [my translation]
The roof of a house peaks over a dry ridge in first town we came to after driving up into the
dry country. Below, a bright pink kindergarden building with a perhaps wishful scene painted all around it.
In this land, people had planted fields of crops.
The seedlings are pushing through sand. There was no evidence of irrigation. I think the row of agave and shrub crawling over the little hill may be an effort to prevent erosion from the endlessly blowing wind. You can see more rows like this in the distance.
We asked a couple of goatherds what the plants were. On one side, a crop of a sort of potato was growing, on the other, "milpa," they said. Milpa is the Nahuatl word for fields planted with maize, squash and beans, a very productive traditional system of farming. On these windy highlands, the milpas were planted only with maize.
Two boys on a burro passed us. The boy in front pressed his eyes shut against the sand.
More wind and dust.