A short while ago in my kitchen, at the back of the house facing the garden, I began to hear the satisfied coos and clucks of parrots deep in the shade, munching the abundant ripe pistachios on my neighbor's tree. They continued doing so as I sat before my laptop at the table to start writing this post.
It's a sign of the season.
Another signal is that I find myself watering the garden more often, and despite this, some plants wilt or curl their leaves in the afternoon. Starting in late April, and running through May and into June, Yucatán bakes.
I notice these sorts of things, feel the dampness of my skin, and acknowledge that the hot season is beginning. We haven't had a long run of blistering days yet, but the temperatures in Mérida and the surrounding area already have reached about 40 degrees Celsius, or 104F, a few times this spring. Soon temperatures will climb even higher, and stay that way for days or weeks at a stretch.
At this point in the year we start seeing more heat-related stories in the local paper. There was one last week about temperature records and predictions of a long, dry hot season.
This is this time when the wisdom of high ceilings, found here mostly in older buildings, becomes evident, at least for those of us who live without air conditioning. The extra height gives heat and humidity space to rise above head level, keeping inhabited space near the cool tile floors more comfortable.
And speaking of high places, now is the time to start sleeping in the the upstairs bedroom I built with large windows for cross-ventilation that take advantage of nightly breezes. Exposed to the sun, the room is hot during the day, but at night when opened up it's like a tree house, cool and airy.
To keep the rest of the place comfortable, I have at least one ceiling fan in every room of the house, and about now is when I begin running them most of the time.
And this is the season when most folks around here with access to a pool or the beach start taking advantage of it. Nothing beats the heat like cooling water.
It is also a good time for a getaway. I find the hot months the perfect for a visit with family in Alaska, or to see friends in the cooler highlands of central Mexico. Even a visit to my parents in South Florida, which when I lived in Alaska seemed terribly hot, now provides relief. If someone ever had predicted that I would view a trip to Florida as a respite from the heat, I would never have believed them.
Heat, I'm Cool, Pool Time, The Rains are Here -- Almost