We didn’t get a lot of snow this winter, until suddenly we did. This morning, I woke up to another winter effin wonderland, which is quite lovely until suddenly it’s not. This (the photo above) is the top of our hill, although my iPhone doesn’t quite capture how pretty a fresh snowfall like this is. It won’t last because temps will be rising pretty soon. So I went out in my slippers and snapped this. When I’m finally out of this place and sitting on my terrace sipping a chaya smoothie, I’ll be glad I took these photos and may even browse through them from time to time.
The sun is up, so now I’m in the sunroom in the rear of our little Cape Cod-style house in Black Rock, Connecticut. The inside of the sunroom is decorated kind of tropical … rattan furniture, a sisal rug, birds of paradise and parrots painted on the walls and ceilings back when trompe l’oeil was the big thing. We did all this well before we ever considered moving to a warmer place. I was in my 30s and all I wanted to do was move to New York City. I’d have preferred Montreal to Mexico, just because I thought the cold made for a serene and peaceful community. (Paul and I even took a French class.) Cold didn’t hit me back then like it does now.
But even then, the tropics were on our minds. We wanted the house to honor both my English ancestors and Paul’s Puerto Rican heritage. Still, our decorating choices also foreshadowed the project we’re on to today.
When we first moved here 20 years ago, we packed the sunroom with furniture from my old townhouse in Meriden, in central Connecticut. At first, it almost looked like we had transported my entire living room, so we jokingly called it the Meriden Room. Then we dragged in elephant ear and lots of other jungle-y potted plants. We brought in humidifiers to coax our orchids along. It looked like a rain forest, and it was terribly impractical. Today, we’ve deforested the sunroom, but it’s still a tropical-themed space, which is striking when the windows look out to a blanket of white.
It’s where I sat, in the same chair I’m in now, reading Joanna van der Gracht de Rosado’s “Magic Made in Mexico,” which I bought in December 2010, a month after our first trip to Yucatán. I found myself commenting on the author’s blog, describing how uplifting it was to be surrounded by winter snow and reading her inspiring and insightful book about Mexico’s culture and society. The correspondence continued for months, and eventually she became my dear friend, and dare I say Mexico Mentor.
Two years and several months later I still get out of bed before sunrise wondering what’s new online from Mexico. It’s my great escape from a life in which I’ve made no big moves or decision in 20 years, a life in which I’m not getting any younger and where a changing technology and media landscape is nudging me toward a big life change before I hit 50.