Friday, January 2, 2009
Where I live...a doll's house
Hey, there's a coqui in the bathroom!
Where I live, nature is my closest partner and imposes herself on every aspect of my life. The weather is generally hot. This morning, when I went outside to check, the temperature was 70 degrees (Fahrenheit). I feel cold. No, I'm not exaggerating. Right now, I have on a pair of heavy long pants, a shirt and a long pink sweater; I'm still not warm. My nose is cold, my ears are cold, my toes are cold. No, I am not going to put on a hat or socks! This state of affairs is ridiculous! I'm originally from the north but my body has acclimated so well that I'm most comfortable when the temperature reaches about 80 degrees. But to wear a hat indoors in this weather? I just can't be that foolish, or can I?
Our driveway is lined with nine stately pine trees, one orange tree, one grapefruit tree, one Buddha-bodhi tree, and two other long needle pines. (I need to look up their names.) Their form is clear in my mind because I've just walked down to the gate to collect a bunch of green bananas that the neighbor left there for me. Soon I need to start boiling them or they will turn ripe. I notice that all the pines are so tall that they tower above every other landscape feature here on this tropical mountain side. When we first moved here, these trees were tall but now after 10 years, they reach a height that I can only guess...50 feet? The taller they get, the smaller the house appears...it's like living in an artist's study on perspective. We live in the tiny white doll's house tucked in the green landscape.
Sometimes, nature is idyllic and other times it provides a shock. Don't worry, the shocks are few and far between, and usually accompanied by severe storm warnings. Mostly, the shocks are mild, really more like tremors... or a surprise. Like this morning, the shower was cold (to me!), and while I was adjusting to the chill, something landed on my shoulder! Scream! Oh, it's okay, just a coqui again! I quickly throw on a towel, exit and call for some backup. No one arrives; they are desensitized to this routine penetrating scream. What is it now? A lizard, a spider, a water bug (cockroach really), bee, flaming red ant? "Could you just get it out of the bathroom?" I'm not really afraid of bugs unless it appears that they are after me, in particular.
Like the other night, a huge flying bug landed on my head and I brushed it off. (Okay, I admit it, I screamed first.) Then I realized the unidentified intruder was on my neck and it disappeared down my collar. Oh! Oh! Oh! I tore off my shirt. Where is it? I ran to the bedroom and threw off the rest of my clothes. Is it stuck to my hair...no, no, no. Then I shook my clothes out. It's got to be gone now. Shower just in case. Out of the shower, I shake my clothes again. ( I take several showers a day.) It's okay, Cynthia. Just to be sure, I give the clothes another good reassuring shake...I'm okay...NO! What is that? It's on me? Off with the clothes again!
I feel mildly mental, like Grandma Alice who insisted that little black bugs were crawling on her skin. Indeed after many months, some bugs were found in the cupboard, though probably not the ones she felt. Nevertheless, she was vindicated. And now, dear blogger friends, I confess. I killed it. I don't like to kill bugs or anything else but I did. When it fell upon the ground, I picked up a shoe and I smashed it. I've just learned to accept that the little creatures must live outside so if they can't be safely captured and returned to their proper home, they must die. That proclamation means that the salamanders and other amphibians get a reprieve but the mosquitoes and such are on the hit list. All coquis must be captured! That's the Puerto Rican mascot and should be respected above all other unwelcome household intruders. I'm just glad that they don't stick to me or inhabit firmly shaken clothing.