At dusk the sky over San Miguel is a layered torte of reds and pinks and purples, a hazy but lovely sunset made rich by the smoke that sits over the town waiting for a breath of fresh air to blow it away. I like to walk up Correo in the late afternoon when the brightly colored walls of the buildings look drained in the sun, the heat and the dust making them like the old ladies who squat beneath the awnings of the mercado during the hottest part of the day.
I’ll have a drink by the pool at La Puertecita, waiting for the day to cool down. At this time of day, the wind is fickled. It can be perfectly still and then, quite suddenly, a gust from the south ripples the water in the pool, pushing dry bougainvillea flowers across the surface like water-skippers towards the deep end where they collect in informal bouquets. Minutes later, the wind changes its mind and now rushes in from the north, gathering clusters of papery red flowers in the shallow end. And then it is still again.
It is as if the angels in the washed out sky are fighting all over again, St. Michael and the devil, and neither good nor evil can hold sway for more than a few minutes at a time.
Once the sun has gone down I finish my drink and walk back down the hill to the Jardín. In the deepening shadows the walls of the homes I pass have regained their colors and now the dark courtyards look cool and inviting. I like to walk past El Pegaso, on Corregidora, where there are three telephone lines where hundreds of barn swallows gather in the early evening.
Why do they pick this particular spot to gather?
Who can say.