Monday, April 30, 2007

Breezes and Sunshine in Chacala

I spend most of my waking hours in Chacala outside. Wearing shorts, and shirt, and flip-flops.
I cook, eat, and wash my dishes and clothes outside. And read, and compute, and work on projects at my table. And, of course, I garden outside. And walk around town, going swimming, shopping, interneting, taking photos, and visiting. Visiting almost always occurs outside, under the shade of a palapa or ramada.

I think mostly being outside makes me more aware of the natural sounds around me. Birds singing, frog-like animals croaking, dogs barking, cats fighting, and the various wild animals doing their thing. And of course, it’s hard to miss the sounds of the monster dirt trucks, loudspeakers, “music”, and people talking and kids playing.

The sounds of the ocean waves breaking is probably my favorite sound in Chacala. You can always hear it, day and night. And I love walking around town by the light of the full moon. I hardly ever use a flashlight here.

I now feel the wind and the breezes are around us all the time. I think I used to just not notice the breezes. But here, the breezes are what keeps you cool. And you notice where they are coming from and when it changes. And the wind can be pretty exciting. Even on ordinary days with small breezes I have to pay attention to how I put things down on the table. Magazines can get torn to pieces by even small breezes.

I dry most of my clothes on the drying line I have tied around the three open sides of the patio. With a nice breeze and the sunshine, clothes can dry in an hour. But mostly I dry things out of the direct sunlight. Mostly because that’s what my neighbors seem to do. White stuff is okay in the sun, but colors, never.

I love the sounds of the birds early in the morning. Right now I can hear maybe a dozen different bird sounds. Yesterday in the late afternoon I wake up from my siesta to really loud bird calls, lots of them. I went outside and all kinds of birds were flying around like crazy, calling to each other. They were flying from tree to power lines, to the roof to shrubs. Finally I looked up and saw there were a half dozen large birds flying around. Cruising back and forth. They had kind of crooked, bent wings. I think all the little birds were very upset, maybe terrified. The chatter and zooming around finally stopped when the big birds left.

Where and when the sunlight comes into my living space is much more important to me than it ever was before. Even though in my old life we were very aware of solar gain, and the angle of the sun. I had an attached greenhouse in two of the places I lived in the country, and where and when the sun hit the greenhouse walls made a big difference.

Here in Chacala, my inside workspace inside gets the direct morning sun for a couple of hours, and I make sure my computer and camera and some other fragile things are never left in the sunny areas of the table. I love the sun shining onto my pillow when I am waking up, and if I shift my bed a little I can almost always have that.
The reed mats I have hanging on the east side of my patio are there to block the low morning sun. I want my little refrigerator to always be in the shade, so I shift the mats slightly to accommodate the sun’s movement, season to season.

And in the late afternoon, when the sunshine comes pouring in the ocean side of the house, I slide a blue plastic tarp to block the sun from my eating table, and the fridge. If I know I will be gone in the afternoon, I move the tarp before I leave.I am looking for one of those reed roll-up shades for that side. Usually there are young men wondering around Chacala regularly, selling those screens. But now that I want one, of course, there are no screen vendors in sight.The moonlight seems to be very bright in Chacala. I hardly every use a flashlight here. I guess my night vision has improved, because it’s never dark enough to need a light. Of course, the addition of street lights on the beach road has really changed the ambient light level around here. Ugh. I liked it much better when there were only a couple of lights on all night.

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