A frente frio, a cold front, is scheduled to slide across our area today. This one is to be fairly gentle with little rain and temperatures in the fifties and sixties. The rough one is not due till Sunday, the Feast Day of Our Virgen de Guadalupe. When I came out of the bedroom early this morning, Acamalín, the little mountain directly across from our house was enshrouded in fog, invisible. The sky towards the east was a deep rose color. The fog has pulled away, but has left a shawl of puffy gray around the mountain’s midsection. Even as I write, it, too, is vanishing, the rose has paled to pink washed with white and now to white stippled with gray.
In our Colonia, this is a mysterious, noisy, and for me, edgy time of year when reality seems to let in strange drifts from uncommon realms. The nights and sometimes the days are filled with the boom, the blast of cohetes, rockets, going off in spurts and clusters, in cadenced cycles and at random. There is sometimes sense to when they are set off. Sometimes they announce that people are to gather, for instance to leave for the Shrine of La Virgen in Mexico City to gather holy flame for our own Capilla; sometimes a burst of noise marks the time they return. Some call people to gather to construct the arcos which will be borne in processions to the entrances of our main church and our capilla of the Virgen tomorrow night.
As night falls, processions begin. There are some with people dressed as old men, sometimes they are old men. They jump and dance strange, twisting steps pulling their knees high. They gird their waists with cowbells which clank with their movements. In others, young men and boys dressed in elaborate clown costumes stomp and turn down the streets, the bells on their ankles jingling rhythmically. Neighbors sometimes join in. Strings and clusters of explosions accompany the processions, sometimes exloding en masse from carts people pull alongside. The big rockets, when they fly up near our house, and sometimes they do right outside our wall, terrify me. How can we not be under attack?. The dogs and Louie the cat and I huddle together in bed. Tomorrow will be the big procession of the arcos. My friend Tere will let us know when to be ready. I will try hard to get up my nerve to go out among my friends and neighbors and the strange, fearsome fireworks.