Suddenly, with the coming of summer, ‘springtime’ arrives in the Sierra Madre. The flanks of the mountains—which from March to mid-June are as lean and leafless as an Ohio woods in winter—explode into life. In the awakening trees, luminous green leaves unfold like ??? at the touch of the falling raindrops. Even the earth, which has looked like a yellow-white powder baked by the harsh sun, is transformed into a dark sponge, carpeted with an eager vegetation that each day reaches higher toward the light. The air—which in the dead days is misnomered primavera—hung in a heavy haze of dust, and then of smoke caused by countless burnings in the hills—becomes so clean that the most distant peaks seem but a day away on foot. Birds begin to carol with new vigor. Butterflies are rampant. Even the tropical heat, so stifling back in May and early June, is eased by the pounding cloudbursts. Each day since the first tempestuous storms, new flowers have burgeoned forth. On the shaded slope near Goyo’s casa in Las Chicuras, a delicate garden springs up, of wild ground orchids called cebollín, whose slender petals give them the look of soft, white spiders. And all along the cliffs overlooking the Rio Verde, the waxen, candle-like buds of sacalosuche—a tree rhododendron—curl open into white bouquets…

Now that the soil of the newly-timbered milpas has been well soaked and softened by the rain, the campesinos have begun to plant their corn. A few are tilling with borrowed mules or oxen, others with teams of burros, but the majority still sow their corn with a planting stick, or güica, as did the Indians before them. Already the first pale shoots of new corn are breaking through the wet soil with their promise of next season’s harvest…

Surely, all these awakenings are the signals of springtime. I must remind myself that the first days of July have already passed.

To a norte-americano like myself, the seasons of the Sierra Madre seem all mixed up. When I arrived in Ajoya in early December, the weather was hot, like Summer. But almost at once the winter rains, or las cabanuelas set in and the weather turned cold, like winter ought to be. Yet within a few weeks many of the trees, such as of amapa prieta and rosa amarilla burst into a profusion of bloom, giving winter the aspect of “Indian spring”. Then spring came, or at least the months of spring, and everything died. Leaves fell from the trees as in autumn; and March, April and May passed with the lifeless look of winter coupled with the sweaty heat of summer. Then, finally, summer came, with its rain and its rebirth of trees and flowers, its cooler temperatures, and the first sowing of grain, a renaissance for all the world like spring.