Monday, June 14, 2021

cleopatra's pool

This morning, I swam with a queen.

For the past few weeks, we have been lusting for rain. This area of Mexico officially entered drought stage earlier this year. Our dun-colored hills bear witness to that. If John Ford was still with us, he would have a ready-made set for his next oater starring Jimmie Stewart -- if he was still with us.

Last night the weather genie finally delivered. Our first real rain was accompanied by the usual supporting cast of thunder and lightning -- a supporting cast that always upstages the rain.

I don't know how many inches fell. Whenever it rains heavily, leaves and flowers from my vines are pelted heavily enough that they soon block the patio's six drains. When I stepped out of my bedroom into the patio, the water was up to my ankles. By this afternoon, the once-grayish hills have started to green up.

When I first moved to this area, the first drop of rain would cut the electricity supply. Often, it would take a day for CFE (the local power supplier) to get everybody up and running.

After several major infrastructure upgrades, those days are gone. For most people. When it started raining last night, most people in the area experienced a brief outage. But, within seconds, the power was back. My neighborhood was not so lucky.

Our power went out and came back on. Almost immediately, I heard a loud bang near my house. The sound was far too familiar. A transformer had sacrificed itself to the rain god.

All night I kept hoping that the system would right itself. It didn't. It is now 1:30 in the afternoon, and I have been forced to trudge over to Rooster's to use the internet there.

Oddly, my Telcel telephone did not work this morning, either -- for calls or for internet. In the past, when the power went out, I could still post using the internet connection on my telephone. But not this time. I can now use the telephone for calls, but the internet is still not available.

But that is what we expect in the summer. Electricity. The internet. Telephone coverage. They can all mysteriously disappear with a bit of moisture falling out of the sky. Considering our usual relative humidity, I am surprised that it takes rain to get that result.

With the rain comes another sign of summer. Ants. We are blessed with a huge diversity in ants in this part of Mexico. I knew we were about to receive rain because late yesterday afternoon a colony of "loco" ants decided to up stakes and move house -- to what they thought would be a drier abode.

But it is not full colonies that are out following the rains. Those first drops signal newly-minted ant queens to take flight, find a willing mate, and then fall to the earth to start a new brood.

That was why my Esther Williams partner was in the pool. She had not completed her breeding mission before she was cast as a third-class passenger on the Titanic.

In her case, it means that one colony of leaf-cutter ants will not be established in Barra de Navidad this summer. But there will be plenty more.

When I was protecting my garden from formicine invasions, the sight of a queen in search of a kingdom would have seen me breaking out the heavy artillery. But the leaf-cutters do not seem to be interested in any of my current landscaping. So, I am happy to simply let nature take its course with this unhappy queen.

There will be more queens -- of various subspecies -- decorating the surface of my pool after what we hope will be regular storms. A series of rainfalls like last night may pull us out of our desperate need for water.

And then I can turn my attention to keeping my electricity and internet in working order. A trip to look at Elke's generator and how it weathered the power failure may be in order.

Until then, I will enjoy my time swimming with the passing queen.

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