Monday, July 18, 2022

it takes a pillage

The scene is inevitable.

In every murder mystery, the detective will assemble the cast -- usually in the parlor -- to reveal the who in the whodunit. Or, even more cleverly, as in The Last of Sheila, arranging them by name.

And, so it has been this season. The suspects blew in alphabetically: Agatha, Blas, Celia, Bonnie, Darby, Estelle.

Of course, those names are not the cast in a local Agatha Christie Revival. They are the string of hurricanes (and one tropical storm) that have slipped past Barra de Navidad this season.

From June to October, there seems to be at least one new storm being born in the Pacific off the coast of Central America. Most do not amount to much. They burn out in the formation stage. Even those that make it to hurricane or tropical storm status stay far enough out in the Pacific that we see only their tertiary effects. High waves. Some rain. Usually, not more than that.

However, if the pressure areas along the cyclone's path are just so (as Rudyard Kipling would say), we do get to feel one of Nature's shows of strength at its rawest. Last year's Hurricane Nora is a perfect example. A mere category one hurricane that, because of its path, caused a surprising amount of damage.

At the start of hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts whether each region's hurricane season will be below or above average. The Atlantic received the bad news of an "above-normal" season. The Eastern Pacific (our region) the seemingly-better label of "below-normal:" 10-17 named storms, 4-8 hurricanes, 0-3 major hurricanes.

Mother Nature has an impish sense of humor. The bytes in the NOAA press release were still damp when something unusual happened in the Eastern Pacific. Hurricane Agatha struck. And she was unfashionably early. Not waiting for the season to begin in June, Agatha arrived in May -- earning herself the title as "the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in May in the eastern Pacific."

For added novelty, the cyclone had formed in the Pacific and then crossed over into the Caribbean.

This may be the season for trans-storms. First there was Agatha. You may have noticed in the alphabetical list of hurricanes and storms that have already paraded past us, there seems to be a mistake. 
Agatha, Blas, Celia, Bonnie, Darby, Estelle. What is that extra "B" doing in the mix?

Bonnie was another exchange storm. But, she started in the Caribbean and then slipped across the isthmus into the Pacific before waltzing harmlessly past us completely oblivious to the fact that she was out-of-step with the other chorines and chorus boys. 

It is an odd year. I do not know what to make of NOAA's low-count prediction. The estimate was for 4 to 8 hurricanes. We have already had five (counting runaway Bonnie), and we are only six weeks into the hurricane season.

Fortunately, for our area, the effects have been minimal. Except for the fishers. The wave activity has played havoc with the local industry.

I enjoy the summers here. The heat. The humidity. Nature's power in storms -- especially, the thunder and the lightning. Surviving summers here is a reminder of how survival itself can be an adrenalin rush.

But weather is always a topic that draws me back to the keyboard -- when I can find a break in my walking routine. I will let you judge whether that is a good thing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

sleeping with the fishes?

That, among other queries, has come my way the past two months. Wondering about my unprecedented (and unexplained absence) from these pages.

It is a fair question. My last post was on 21 May when I pondered the mysterious lizard that had taken up residence in my kitchen. Since then, Mexpatriate has ceased to echo the pace of my life. 

But the fish have jolted me out of my reverie.

This afternoon I started a quick walk to the local Oxxo when I paused to pick up the trash and detritus that daily accumulates in the street in front of my house. Most of it is refuse that the guys on the garbage truck drop while toting off the neighborhood rubbish.

Amongst the styrofoam cups, potato chip wrappers, and dirty diapers was a small fish. It could not have been there long because it showed no signs of rot in the sun. Why, I asked myself, would one small fish be in the middle of the street on a Tuesday afternoon? Apparently, I had no answer because I didn't.

Well, it was not one. I soon saw another. Then three more. And five. Between my house and the house next door, there were thirty-one lost piscine souls resting eternally.

I have a friend who grew up in Brooklyn in the 1940s who believes that every odd thing discovered in a neighborhood is a message from the Mafia. I know exactly what he would have thought of the fish in the street. Fair warning. Of what? Well, something. And it could not be good.

Having turned in my aluminum foil hats some time ago, I tend to default to the analysis that Sigmund Freud famously did not say: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." I sleep a lot better that way.

Who knows why the fish are there? Most likely a fisher had caught them at the beach, stuffed them in a bag, and, while walking or riding down my street,the bag decided to do its impression of Hansel in the forest.

But they were excuse enough for me to break into my walking schedule to write you a brief note to say the world goes on.

And, should I find another open period, I will probably share a bit more of what has been happening during the past five months.

For now, I am going to enjoy something the unschooled fish no longer can -- I am going to relish the gift of another day.