It's Friday. First, we took two dogs on one walk and the other three on another. Rita who is 17 1/2 years old had been languishing without a walk for a couple of weeks. She looks old now with her fur without luster and seeming to grow in mats, But she is still cheerful and eager and loyal. We took Jocko, too, and just went up as far as the park and walked around it and then went back the way we'd come. Both dogs seemed satisfied.
The next walk with Hank, Happy and Lil Guy was longer. The neighbors were surprised to see us a second time. It was hot and dusty. Hank got in two swims and the other two wet their feet in the rio where it crosses the road and Paul Barber's property. Paul is the English gardener who is a naturalized Mexican. He was clearing an area up near the road for more garden space.
I heard thunder. I hate being outside in thunder. It's one of the few things that still strikes fear in me. I don't mind it if I'm inside. I like storms as long as I'm inside.
As we turned to retrace our steps home, the heat seemed to reach a peak. The air was still. Dark clouds gathered as if at a starting gate, waiting for some signal. There was a puff of wind, just a puff to stir the leaves. Clouds poured down from Cofre de Perote into the valley just beyond us. Suddenly leaves whipped against each other in a strong gust. The sky blackened, ominous. We quickened our steps back into the village. But we got no rain then or later that night.
In and around our Colonia people still use horses and mules for transporting crops and firewood and long poles and themselves. We saw quite a number of horses today, some with dogs running along side. One had a boy and a load of grass for forage on its back. The boy looked as if he had fallen asleep. Maybe he had. He was wearing shocking pink rubber shoes. Those rubber shoes are quite popular and quite useful for working and walking on dirt that turns quickly to mud when it does rain.
There are lots of kids in our neighborhood. I wish our grandchildren would come and stay long enough to make friends with some of them and learn a bit of Spanish. When we walk by with our dogs, a lot of them call out, "Hello!" in English and ask us a bunch of questions. "How do you say my name in English," or "Which dog is Jocko?" Some of the kids and I have developed extravagant arm motions for greetings. They can go on for awhile, kind of as if they were choreographed.
Life spills onto the street. Three men sit on chairs under an overhang and gossip, I imagine. One of them doesn't think we understand any Spanish at all and gestures to us without making a sound. I thought that he might perhaps be mute, but when I passed closer to him and his friends, I could here him clearly. A group of kids, boys and girls of different ages suddenly form into street soccer teams. Dogs weave in and out and bark at our dogs menacingly but don't come close. A line of people waits outside the community DIF store waiting for the free fluorescent bulbs the electric company is giving out if you bring a regular, working old fashioned one and two paid receipts from bills. A couple of old women pass by, piles of neatly arranged leña, firewood, on their heads. One of our neighbors swirls past on his motorcycle: he is letting his younger brother sit in front and drive it. Two or three people clip-clop on horseback. A young woman trudges past with bags from the supermarket, Chedraui, though she probably bought her stuff here in the Colonia. A burro is tied up at someone's front door. A couple wave. They sit and watch their little black dog play with a rag or something similar. If it's not raining, if it's not very cold, if it's not late at night, the streets are busy. A guy with a cart attached to the front of a bike attracts people with the smell of the guisado cooking in a pot in the cart. Bottles of salsa line the rim. People lean in doorways and look out of windows, their elbows resting on the sills. We reach our gate and bring the dogs inside.