December 1, 2007
A photograph of yesterday deserves to hang on the corkboard
of the local post office, right next to the wanted posters
of the country’s vilest criminals. It earned the
right by being as badly behaved as the worst of them.
Rain was the peccadillo that promoted yesterday to
this stature --a slow, firm, steady, twelve hour anointment
that filled all the low spots of the roads and highways
and exhausted the supply of pots and pans in nearly
every home and business as they were deployed under
countless water torture devices that were collectively
once described as the roofs of San Felipe.
The relentless rain caused three reliably steadfast
things to take a holiday. The first was the town’s
schools, which released their cargo to waiting buses
that drove the jubilant students through the hissing
streets. The second was the much vaunted rain shadow
effect of the Sierra San Pedro Martir mountains. And
the third was the loyalty of the power grid, which took
a series of short siestas in the morning.
Of course, the sun took a holiday too.
While the streets slowly filled with water, people
climbed to their roofs with tarps and plastic drop sheets
in a Dutch boy effort to plug up the source of their
leaks. But water is ghost-like in its effect and seemed
to easily pass through any barrier. Even the advertisements
on the bulletin boards shaded by overhangs rolled up
like scrolls and ran their inks.
The wind picked up in the evening and removed the protective
tarps, forced the water through every crevice and crack.
The sun rose and steamed the ground. The townpeople
turned up their collars and prepared to get their feet
wet. If their cars would start.