The rain had been building as the hurricane closed on them, the
thatched fronds of a roof of an adobe home that allowed a few
drops of rain to pass, but mostly just rustled, struck with the
heavy drops, at first pelting dust upward, later directing mud
toward the sides and down the walls of the home, where it
collected in small puddles and flooded tiny burrows in the
Inside the hut a family collected. The gray sky turned
black. Lightning flashed and immediately thunder boomed. The
darkening desert was lit for an instant by the flash.
A burro brayed and hens fussed under the hood of a 1954 Ford
Fairlane that had been salvaged to act as the cover for a coop.
Taking advantage of the unhurried time together and to keep her
children's minds away from the threat of irritated gods, a
senora carefully places a few small bones of a decomposed Cirio
limb into an old adobe oven, arranging dried desert plants
She strikes a wooden match with two colors on its head on the
edge of a cast iron pan that has been in her family for longer
than she can remember, the only pan. The fire begins and soon
throws flickering shadows across the dense grays and onto the
rich brown clay and straw walls, a warm golden light, somehow
staying the problems of the rain.
She mixes water and flour and lard and pats the paste into flat
cakes that she cooks over the flame, in her pan. Her husband
and children spread a spoonful of frijoles on the cakes as they
come off the stove and enjoy them until there is no more paste
and the fire has dwindled to a few embers. She allows her pan
to cool and wipes it clean and returns it to its resting place
on the adobe. Her family sits on the single bed in the single
room home and is glad for the disruption of the storm.
They are accustomed to the desert ways and are always happy to
have a moment to sit together, often enabled by a remote threat,
to share the time where there is nothing to distract them or
require their attention, except each other.