We are living in what amounts to the Egypt of the Americas, surrounded by pyramids and ruins of amazing construction. I find them fascinating, not merely for the architecture, but for the ancient culture they reveal. That culture is still thriving around us in Yucatan today. ¶ The skill of the masons working in our backyard has a long history. Over the weekend we journeyed south to visit a number of ruins, with tour guide Marina Aguirre who will be hosting several other trips within the near future. The names of the ruins we visited are linked here. My description as being rock piles is truly affectionate, as there is a much loved sports stadium in our home area, replaced long ago, yet still available to the community, which is termed The Rock Pile. We also made a trip into the jungle of southern Campeche state in pursuit of wildlife. The photos below will give only a hint of the adventure.
A howler monkey clings to the funhouse furniture
A toucan scans the canopy for lunch
The “acropolis” at Edzna
Last week we had some heavy weather overnight, with rain and high winds. At one point my wife heard a huge crash. In the morning we discovered that a neighbor’s tree, next to the wall separating our properties, had toppled the wall. We soon discovered that the wall was not the only casualty. The impact had caused a mini earthquake which shattered a plumbing line, below.
We were scheduled to visit ruins to the south, near the border with Guatemala, and had already paid for the excursion. So we called in our masons and our plumber. The masons began immediately. The plumbing took a bit longer. The shattered plastic elbow was attended to by Dr of Vascular Surgery, Rolando. Although he had a backlog of cases, he showed up at precisely the right moment, a day after our return, as we had just run out of water in the tinaco up on the roof. (Translation: ¡seismo! no water anywhere in the house, due to that mini earthquake.) Fortunately, before we left, I had noticed that the water meter at the street was spinning wildly, so I had shut off the supply. Once he replaced the fractured joint, all was well again. And, get this – when I went to the public water utility, Japay, to pay our bill, they gave us a significant reduction in charge – more than half – due to the nature of the leak! And I didn’t even have to ask! What a lovely city to live in.We took the mason’s advice of deconstructing the wall all the way back to the vertical free-standing column, as the wall was weak. They are nearing completion of rebuilding it with added strength, tying vertical reinforcements into the foundation, which they restacked. It’s really much nicer. (The neighbor’s side of the yard is sadly being used as a mini landfill; it was seriously overgrown with weed trees and littered with trash. But they kindly allowed us to cut the trees, as long as there was no expense to them for repairing the wall.) We’re nearly back to normal. Soon they will install vertical pipes upon which we will stretch arbor wire for trellising some vegetation, for restoring the privacy lost when the trees were cut down. Most earthquakes take longer in recovery, I suspect.
This might be an important book. Here’s a quick sketch, with a link to a review, below: Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World by Timothy Morton is a book of quasi-popular philosophy (hope you’ve at least skimmed your Heidegger and Kant) about the very big things that have come to dominate human existence: cancer, global warming, radionuclides, petrochemicals. Morton is the head of the English department at Rice University and a leader in the field of object-oriented ontology, affectionately known as OOO, a relatively recent philosophical movement that declares the human being just one thing among many things. Human consciousness, for OOO true believers, isn’t all that special, even if we are a thing that can write epic poems, perform Bach concertos, and run a mean pick-and-roll. REVIEW.
The New Year’s tradition here involves fireworks, of course. And every city block has several local displays of ushering out the Old Man. Don’t do this to your neighbor – make your own straw man! It sounds like a war zone has erupted suddenly. (May it be brief, resulting in peace.) Happy 2014!