Thursday, March 17, 2005
Last night I missed my country.
I haven't missed Mexico as strongly in....oh, about 8 years now.
The U.S. can be......a bit cold at times.....
Speaking of the weather, on December 12th, 1997, it snowed in my hometown city of Guadalajara. Now, Guadalajara is reputed to have the 2nd best (mildest) climate in the world, after Nairobi, and the temperature typically varies only by a few degrees Centigrade between day/night, and about 10 degrees C. betwen winter/summer. In fact, in the coldest Guadalajara winter days, you can typically take your sweater off by midday, and just put it back on again at around 5 p.m., when the sun starts to go down. So all in all pretty warm, dry, pleasant weather.
I don't know why I remembered this this morning. I also remembered how, as kids, one of the most magical, mysterious things in the whole wide world for my brother and me was snow, which we would only typically see on T.V. broadcasts of the winter Olympic games or bastardized in some cartoon, or, at times, even managed to recall feebly in the memories of our rare Italian winter sojourns in my grandparents' farm. I think our fascination with snow is typical of anyone who has grown up in the tropics.
Imagine the surprise then, on that day. It hadn't snowed in Guadalajara for centuries! I found out from a phone call from my mother (for I was already living in the U.S. at that time), who told me how the phenomenon had been all over the front pages of all local papers for several days, described as spectacular, and how, when the snow fell, creating an instant playground in the streets, people would abandon their work, walk out of their offices, some looking at the sky with a smile and palms outstretched, others trying to catch the snowflakes with their tongues. I could almost see it too, the children, the only ones level-headed and still practical amidst the flurry of bewilderment, disappearing into their parent's houses and emerging a few seconds later carying glass jars, to later preserve the snowflakes a few hours longer in their mothers' refrigerator freezers, for they quickly melted at the touch of the warm Mexican earth. "It was," she had said, "as if time had stood still."
And this morning, recalling what my mom had said, I thought I would have given anything I owned, and if memories could be traded, even given up those of the first snowfall in Boston, at night while walking alone across my old college soccer field, or of the muted silence of the morning after, with a white blanket 12 inches deep, or the countless skiing trips in the Italian Alps and Lake Tahoe, or the snowball fights with my old college companions, to have been there, and seen the childlike awe and joy in so many people all at once, adults and kids alike, and afterwards, in the evening, sitting down under the warm kitchen light, wondering in amazement with the rest of the family at the day's events, watching the evening news, which for that night only, had forgotten to report about the usual politics and violence.