There is a storm brewing outside. I can hear thunder claps from beyond Vulcan Tecapa. Just like the first snow, waiting for the first official rain is an event that brings everything to a standstill. Everyone wants to be the first to feel that drop of rain and yell, "It's here!" Vigil called his friend in Ozatlan who confirmed it was raining. So we wait. Evers and Vigil are sitting outside taking odds on when it might start.
I was in town this morning and when I returned, I saw someone running from the house with a water jug on his head. I raced after him and called out. It was Vigil who said there was a tree on fire. Don Beto has just had the meeting with the families that rent land to review the fire policies. How could we have a fire the very next day?
I made my way through the fields and found Vigil, Carlito, and Mario trying to extinguish a huge tree that had toppled over a hillside. I realized the tree had died a long time ago and it was very dry. Just the kind of kindling you don't want around. One more thing to add to the list, have the boys check the plantation for dead trees....don't they do this already?
This particular patch was being rented by Renaldo Avila who was busying himself with some branches off in the distance. When I asked Carlito why his entire field had been burned instead of isolated areas, he told me that Renaldo had not been at the meeting yesterday. I was fuming when I also noticed a large avocado tree in the middle of the field. The fire had burned right up to the trunk and singed all the lower branches. Renaldo had pruned all the burned branches and there were avocados strewn all over the ground. I knew he had also cut the branches to provide more sunlight for his corn. I called Don Beto and he said he would be right over.
I told Beto to review the rules with Renaldo. I reminded him that now three of our workers were spending their day working on a fire that Renaldo has set. Would Renaldo like to pay their wages? I showed Beto a photo I had just taken of the tree and pointed out there were 10 fresh cuts on the tree where Renaldo had cut off the branches. I told Beto to tell Renaldo not to cut another branch and get himself up there with the other men and start helping put out the fire.
I hate being the tough guy. I could see Beto wasn't comfortable with my demands, but I crossed my arms and planted my feet until he walked over and spoke with Renaldo. He reluctantly grabbed a shovel and began helping. Beto assured me he would talk to anyone else that had not made the meeting.
About a week ago, a large dog slowly wandered into my office. We already have three dogs here on the finca which is plenty. They are outdoor watchdogs the men have acquired over the years. When I saw this dog, I immediately thought to shoo him off but hesitated as he kept staring at me. I got up and he ran outside, but didn't leave. I put out my fist for him to sniff and he continued to back away. His skittishness indicated abuse and being the softy that I am, took a liking to him. After several attempts, he allowed me to pat his head. He devoured two bowls of food and then scooted under my desk and fell asleep.
The other dogs, Choco, Nuvo, and Fortuna were less than pleased with the new intruder and kept their distance. He continued to shadow me for another four days until I left for meetings in the capital. When I returned a few days later, he was gone. No one had seen him. I was more than a little disappointed. I was hoping for a moment that he was beginning to trust me and would turn into my loyal companion. I don't think I had been home an hour, when he suddenly appeared and carefully walked up to me. Juana and the men all said he was meant to be with me.
I bought him a collar today. He does wonder off now and then. So I thought that if he does have an owner, they will see the collar. They will know someone else is caring for him. Maybe they will attach a note and tell me I can have him. I tried to take a picture of him today. The flash startled him and now whenever he sees the camera, he heads in the other direction. If he stays, it will take some time before this poor creature can relax and feel at home. I keep looking for a wagging tail. Perhaps tomororw. It took three of us to give him a bath this afternoon. He is asleep under my desk with his head resting on my feet. I named him Bruno.