Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April is the Hottest Month

Or so the Guatemalans say. Hot because it's the end of the dry season. We'll have something else to complain about shortly, probably the days of rain. If I understood the man in the fishing supply store correctly, that's what cools things down.

But right now it's 95 in the cabin, and I'm worried about food in the locker under the side deck cooking itself - eggs boiled before their time! We need to wear shoes to walk on deck.

Shade is becoming such a big priority that I'm spending my days trying to fit a more proper bimini over the cockpit, under the solar panels. This is a tedious exercise in poached frustration. I even lit a stick of incense (Zen "Soothing") on the sewing machine, then ripped the same seam out three times.
While I'm cranking away (the machine is on the V-berth, just downwind of the blessedly wind-scooping hatch, I watch the birds.

A retinue of swallows accompanied us through the Rio Dulce gorge. Of all the nesting spots that must be available to them, none, apparently, strikes a deeper chord than the opening of a roller furler drum. They didn't care that it's moving southwest at five knots, away from their native land. It's spring, and they're obeying the swallow imperative, just as I'm obeying mine by trying to make shade.

Yesterday they began to colonize with twigs. I had to stop them - 'it's for your own good!' I told them as I stuffed the hole with a chunk of foam. Now they gather on the bow pulpit to examine this puzzle from every angle. They twitter away, arguing about what should be done (sounds like Twitter in the tech world too.) Finally they decide - nothing - and they move on to the next best thing.

While I'm trying to lash this canvas in place in the cockpit, I get to keep track of the comings and goings in this little bay. There's a small quiet marina with slips along the shore, but most of those people are flown away 'home'.

Then, a few houses around the bay, and a couple creeks entering. If you live here and want to go anywhere, you'll go on the river, lancha for the big trip to town and cayuga for the more local stuff, fishing, visiting, church, even school. On some of this riverfront land I don't think you could actually walk anywhere further than the clothesline. Anchored in the middle, we're on the road to everywhere.

I often hear the murmur of quiet conversation, the drip of water off paddles, the glissando of a cast net settling. One bay over, carpenters sawed and hammered into civil twilight, trying to get the church ready in time for Semana Santa. A troupe of boys splashed around in the water lilies, either to scare fish into their net, or out of sheer exuberance. On Palm Sunday, a woman paddled past singing about Jesus. Two young girls had pan de coco for sale, and a man came with a decent selection of fruits and vegetables laying under a palm frond in the bilge of his cayuga.

It all made me a little ashamed to be hot and grumpy in such a sweet place, so I jumped in the water and floated until I was ready to face the sewing machine again.

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