Around noon last Saturday Jim and I and the dogs went down to wander around the ruins the Canadian had left. We tramped through heavy, humid air under a deep blue sky which billowing clouds were just beginning to impinge on as they seeped over the ridges and peaks surrounding us. Our skin was slick with sweat even though we didn’t feel particularly warm. Sometimes a burst of flower perfume would penetrate the warm earthy smell that is so omnipresent that I have to stop and think to notice it.
As winter drifts into the dry heat of April and May it’s easy to forget how overpoweringly, densely tropical (well, neotropical) this place becomes. Our colonia is a village in a rural settomg: houses and beneficios and stores and people and chickens and cattle and geese and roads and cars and coffee and bananas and in April and May, dust. But now, a month into the rainy season, life crowds us, even in our garden. Guillermo takes his machete and hacks without mercy at ferns and hibiscus, bougainvillea and arrowroot and ginger and roses and the big-leafed plants Jim favors. They are pushing shoots up again the next day.
Down along the little river where the Canadian tried to build his shrine to hemorrhoids, vines clambering over each other, a tangle of grasses. A kaleidescope of leaves. Flowers. Rot underfoot and fungi dotting the ground as delicate mushrooms or draping in scallops and ripples over dead bark. And of course, insects. This is a feast beyond gluttony for the insects. Everywhere I look, they are feeding silently, incessantly . T The plants are greedy, too. New buds and leaves overwhelm their predecessors skeletons.
The dogs scamper and stop to sniff, lick water from muddy puddles, slip down to the river’s edge, flop into the water and bound back. I follow Jim. He is the guide, I the student. He says insects are starting to develop an affinity for him.
He can see caterpillars and insects that are invisible to me without his pointing them out. They are not shy, retiring types, hiding in the colors o their hosts. How could I miss them?
The white with a black fringe in the picture at the right is called perrito in Mexico. It looks like a fuzzy little puppy. In San Antonio, it was called an asp, which sounds more appropriately sinister to me. Sometimes it is known as a puss caterpillar or a southern flannel caterpillar. it seems to yearn for me to stroke it, but I don't. It is definitely dangerous and can cause not only a painful contact rash, but can cause generalized illness. This one appears to be eating a smaller, thinner caterpillar.
The bristly fellow in the picture of leaf skeletons above seen below up close:
This one was on our car tire:
Below a spider in his rather interesting web. The more traditional web can be seen outside the white mat the spider sits on. the spider is camouflaged by his web.
As you can see, life is creeping back on the wall that the Canadian gouged out on the upper level.
This is a mysterious thing, and I really regret the photo isn't sharper:
We wandered back to the almost-invisible road. The dogs were glad.
They headed for the water.
Floribundia hanging over the stream:
This is a picture of a plant producing leaves. I thought the buds were insects at first.
Cosi and some furled giant morning glories:
There was so much more. This is enough for now. It has been raining heavily. Our falls looked like this yesterday through a telescoped lense.