Mexico in Milwaukee

It’s 49 degrees outside, and raining.  Through the cracks in the window casements of this old duplex comes a rushing wind.  It got dark before dinner.  After a simple supper of red potatoes, acorn squash and chicken breast, Steve and I curl up on the couch to read aloud from D.H. Lawrence’s The Plumed Serpent.  We take turns with each chapter.  Our Spanish accents are not too bad, subtle for the most part.  In a matter of minutes, we are transported across time and climate.

“It was sunset, with a big level cloud like fur overhead, only the sides of the horizon fairly clear.  The sun was not visible.  It had gone down in a thick, rose-red fume behind the wavy ridge of the mountains.  Now the hills stood up bluish, all the air was a salmon-red flush, the fawn water had pinkish ripples.  Boys and men, bathing a little way along the shore, were the colour of deep flame.

Kate and Carlota had climbed up to the azotea, the flat roof, from the stone stairway at the end of the terrace.  They could see the world: the hacienda with its courtyard like a fortress, the road between deep trees, the black mud huts near the broken highroad, and little naked fires already twinkling outside the doors.  All the air was pinkish, melting to a lavender blue, and the willows on the shore, in the pink light, were apple-green and glowing.  The hills behind rose abruptly, like mounds, dry and pinky.  Away in the distance, down the lake, the two white obelisk towers of Sayula glinted among the trees and villas peeped out.  Boats were creeping into the shadow, from the outer brightness of the lake.”

At the end of the chapter, we talk about the book.  What is happening between the characters?  I remember feeling that way once…  What did you think about the parallels drawn between these characters and Salome and John the Baptist?  I like how he describes invisibility and hidden places in the characters and then echoes that in his description of the flora and fauna.  Socially and culturally, this comment is very interesting.  Do you think Lawrence was racist?….

Two hours go by.  We feel close, connected, stimulated emotionally and intellectually.  And warm, relaxed.  This is good.  I’m so glad we don’t own a TV.

Another corner where I curl up with a book

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