Friday, September 16, 2011

stormed at with shot and shell

I skipped last night’s Independence Day celebration.

Across Mexico, citizens gathered in their town squares to hear a local politician re-enact Father Miguel Hidalgo’s call to exterminate the Spanish.

That was 201 years ago.  But it is easy to imagine the local crowd marching down the street and give the Bourbon king a bloody snout.

Melaque is no exception.  I have attended a couple of the celebrations.  But not last night.  I could hear rumblings in the distant that a storm was on its way.

And quite a storm it has been.  As if the forces of history mock the local reenactment of the Independence celebration.

Mexico did not get its independence on that night in 1810.  There would be over a decade of slaughter.  Rifles.  Cannons.  Beheadings.  The cries of bereaved widows and new orphans.

Through the night and the early morning, nature put on its own passion play of power.  Sturm und drang on steroids.

When thunderstorms come to the Mexican coast, they are not your sissy flashes of light with an occasional clap of noise.

Lightning here is pure Broadway.  Each flash illuminates an otherwise ebony sky.  Lighting the night from horizon to horizon.

And, depending on how close the flash is, the inevitable china-rattling boom soon follows.  Accompanied now and then with sharper cracks.  As if riflemen were advancing under an artillery barrage.

This is not your Washington Irving nine-pins thunder.  It is nature in its rawest form using human bodies as timpanis to echo its power and rage.

Mexico often wears its history as a burden.  The breach with Spain amplified what Jorge Castañeda Gutman has called Mexico’s fear of The Other.

But nature cares nothing for such political talk.  That is a human invention.  It is content merely to remind us that we mortals may believe we are in charge of events, but we need reminding that our celebrations do not even show up on nature’s calendar.

And after a night of commotion, the storm has passed.  Leaving the roosters to welcome a dawn as peaceful as life should be in Mexico.


blog said...

The actual beauty of September 16th Independence Day in Mexico is the peace and quiet after the S T O R M!

Very peaceful here this morning - the Country is at rest ;-)

Steve Cotton said...

But it appears to be a nice day for the children's parade.

Kim G said...

Growing up in Northern California, thunderstorms were a very rare treat, but even those we got only had a few bolts of thunder and little lightening.  Going to school undergraduate in Houston, Tx, I was delighted to learn that some things really are bigger in Texas. MUCH bigger in the case of thunderstorms, many of them accompanied by what California would consider nearly an entire season of rain.

Boston too is a thunderous place.  And here, Zeus is just as happy to hurl thunderbolts in the middle of January's Nor'easters as he is doing so during summer's squalls.

In Mexico City, Tlaloc too is fond of hurling thunderbolts amidst torrential rain, and I've enjoyed many a storm there.

Call me nuts, but I love it all. OK, except for the 3:00AM thunderbolts directly over the house that arrive without warning. Those make me feel like one of those cartoon characters that's startled awake, hits the ceiling, flattens, slowly peels off, then lands back on the bed, in three dimensions once again, heart pounding, walls shaking.

Hope that didn't happen to you.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where, quite suddenly, it's Fall. I may even have to reawaken the furnace.

Steve Cotton said...

I stayed up most of the night and got up early merely to enjoy the sights and sounds of the storm.  I caught up on my sleep this afternoon.

Don Cuevas said...

We also love the sound of thunder, the distant rolling barrages of truenos. We neither are not fond of the sizzling, crack of of a nearby lightning strike.
Our country neighbors call lightning "rayos de luz", or even "cuchillos de luz". Luz, of course has the meaning of electricity as well as light.,Don Cuevas 

Steve Cotton said...

I suspect lightning was the culprit in the death of my modem during my absence.