Don’t Make an Ash of Yourself

Time goes by so quickly.  Now that I live a bit off the beaten path from Barrio El Centro (downtown), I haven’t noticed the giant sugar cane trucks on their way to the cañera during the day.   But sitting at my desk today, I found little bits of black landing on my desk.  Normally, the debris that comes through the roof tiles is white.

Then I went outside and found the sky filling with black ash floating to the ground like a surreal snow storm in reverse colors.  Particles of varying sizes and shapes were falling to the road causing comment from the neighbors.  Then it hit me.  The cane harvest is followed by a burning of the chaff.  The ash is black and light.  It soars high into the sky and the December winds carry it over the town where it blankets everything.  Hardly the typical Christmas scene.

Our friend the “belairbear” responded to my YouTube message from Bay City, CA this evening.  Margarita got excited as he gave us his name and mentioned many of the church people she’s known for all her life, I guess.  She knows his relatives too.  He gave me his email address and I wrote to him.  He’s already responded.  He’s very happy to get news from home and I’m happy to send it.  His message yesterday started in English and finished in Spanish.  I wrote in Spanish tonight and he responded in kind.  How wonderful to be able to correspond with this fellow who has gone to make his life in the U.S. while I’ve come from there to El Salvador to do the same.

Duke still has to be told what he can chew and what he’s not allowed to chew.  Because nature made him a hunter, he likes anything that moves.  Curtains, skirts, pants legs, people’s feet, and hands that move quickly.  He was caught removing the paint from our juguetera, the hulking piece of furniture that holds the TV, boom box, photos and nick-nacks.  He’s learning to fetch his squeaky toy and has mastered manipulating the soccer ball, which is bigger than he is.  He meanspiritedly woke me up from a rare afternoon attempt at napping by putting his front paws on the bed and nipping my hand.  I put him on my belly hoping he’d nap too, but he insisted on licking and licking with interspersed bites to make sure I was attending to him.  He’s getting more spoiled and Adriana less.

Adri is learning to share Duke.  I took him out front on his leash and just let him sit, bite the chain, or pirouette trying to rid himself of his constraint.  Eventually, his curiosity got the better of him and he crossed the street to explore.  Some children came out to have a catch with rubber balls.  Duke wasn’t all that interested in them.  Two of the three girls asked questions about his name and the little boy about his gender.  The boy started teasing Duke by flashing his hand in front of Dukes needle-like teeth.  I warned him not to do that and he listened.  Duke found dried leaves to chew and oranges that had fallen from the tree to poke his nose at.  He seemed relieved of the pressure of the outside world when I brought him back into the house.  He’s a good dog.


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