The Big Wet

September 18, 2019

Water is wet. And lots of it can make things very, very wet.

My part of Mexico is well south of the country’s desert areas, which are mostly an extension of the geography of the U.S. southwest. Here in the mountains we usually get intense rainfall in late June and early July, then it tails off through September, and ends in October.

This year, it was desultory during the first half of the season, appeared to have stopped altogether in August, and is now, in September, pelting down almost every night. Bare ground was starting to reappear here two weeks ago, but by last weekend the jungle was back. I have to check the dogs for ticks every day.

On Friday, I joined three friends for lunch in town, which became an extended drinking session. The rain began during the meal, then became really dense, to the point the sound hitting the split bamboo roof over our table made conversation difficult. Even crossing the street outside would have meant becoming saturated, so we ordered another round or two and hung in. We left when the rain was merely heavy, when I tried to take photos of it splashing in the streets. The pictures, though, were iffy, and I ditched them. And any shots I took of streams came out as depictions of muddy sludge. So, you’ll just have to imagine what heavy rain looks like. You can probably handle it.

I had to adapt to the wetness when I came here. Today, after a lightning storm followed by rain that didn’t let up all night, the village streets had rivulets flowing over the cobbles, and I was hopping over some of the deeper parts. Sometimes, I get home and have to change my socks.

We know it’s life-giving, and that a good water supply makes life livable for all of us who’ve packed ourselves into this area: expats, locals and their extended families, and weekend refugees from Mexico City who maintain getaways here. We also know we have to rainproof our houses, and deal with the fact that our walls eventually need re-plastering and our window-frames corrode.

As the rainfall patterns change with the altered climate, we also wonder how it will be in the years to come. For now, we have enough water in the reservoirs and in the soil to support the livestock and bring in a good maize harvest, as well as supply a modern lifestyle for people. But this year’s herky-jerky rains gave everyone cause for concern about whether it will remain that way.

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