Monday, March 17, 2008

"Tierra Mia" Part 2

Cuento 2: “Slow Walk to Land Baron Style” (802 words)

Now, though, I’m weary, from such imaginative don-derring-do. The tender bowing over fine brown hands hurts my back. It can be tiring, this landed gentry bit. My butt and legs hurt, as well, from this morning’s lesson with mijo Ramon. I’m content to hobble ‘round my bustling homestead, la casa de palomas, grinning as wide as Methusaleh’s teeth were long, savoring the campesino flavor of “Tierra Mia” in Nicaragua.

Ay, Chihuahua, “Tierra Mia!” Would you care, mi amigos, for a little stroll, with a guaranteed, pedigreed Nicaraguan don, around my mesh-curtained castle yard? It’s mi plesor, as a first-time landowner, señors y señoras.

Ah, sí! Check out this tall poinsetia clump, north of palomas. 8 feet of verde stalks, scarlet-crowned, the village elders say the plant’s witnessed too many martyrdoms, quite bloody I’m sure, and, so, it metamorphs to red in February, a memorial to saintly and Sandinista sacrifice every year.

Behold, now, mi Campesino-Heaven-on-Earth, just past that bright-red bouganvillea! Si, senor, my yard’s very long. More than 200 striding paces, street to street, a village block of tired adobe shacks—No other word fits quite as well, but we’re making progress!--my new celestial province of fruit trees, full-grown, bearing aguacates, mangos, cocos, cacao, bananas, limones and naranjas, and , of course, café.

“Tierra Mia” stretches over a half acre, más ó menos, still growing, of developed residential land, amenities already in at the sale. Surrounding la casa de palomas, still home to my sister Marta and her family, though my name’s on the dotted line at the lawyer’s, “Tierra Mia” expands my strolling space, safe after dark with my perros beside me, right where I’ve lived for 13 years when in Teote. I traded Martita a fine but tiny casita, with bananas and café, down on the rio Limon. A pump and hose fetch water for the trees and for frijoles in the Dry. We both think we got the best bargain, especially as she still lives at palomas, taking care of us all, so Miguel had a hand in, we feel, es cierto. Mutuality is the Árcangel’s constant sign, along with his Sword of Truth.

The rest came poco á poco, as contiguous lots became available in the years since I developed landlust in Teote, guided by synchronicity to buys where everyone wins. A 20 minute stroll traces its circumference, about the same as dawdling ‘round a block in Old Town Glenwood. New member of the campesino hierarchy, un caballero, I’m finally planting in my own garden, un jardÍn tropical, just like Voltaire’s Candide, no more on rented land.

Just look at these cascading candelarias, like red honeybees on golden wires, on every wood column of my veranda! Life triumphs over death, once more, in “Tierra Mia.”

See the fleck of red in this pebble? It speaks to la sangre of many martyrs. Two millennia of war, “Indian” slavery and quashed rebellions do that. Before this extension of Teote was built, to shelter refugees after La Guerra, what a killing field “Tierra Mia” must have been, so close to the fields and the front! From tilling the soil for new gardens, I know it contains bullets, and, once, a bayonet, though guerreros campesinos are very careful with their killing tools. Most still keep an AK-47 and a machete under the mattress, lumpiness an issue transcended with an extra colchone.

OK, sí, it’s pretty bloody ground, but, it puts things into campesino perspective, and, we do get an ocean of rain here when it rains! Pero, no, it’s a horror story, unwashed or cleaned, especially with the earliest Spaniards and the Somozas, who called the campesinos “our cattle,” and treated them accordingly, a continuous blood-drenched genocide of “expendable” people, just “meat.”

Even so, I love this tierra, as only a first time owner can, even if it is land purchased on the cheap--less than $5,000 in 7 years--in the hinterland of Nicaragua, not on the tourist-covered beaches of San Juan del Sur. It’s now worth $27,000! I could take the money and run, but why sell in this market, rising like an angel up to el Cielo? Just last year, I doubled my money.

In Glenwood, God knows, a city block would pave my way to Pig’s Heaven, or, at least, a small McMansion, but Teote is a garage sale after hours, when everything’s picked over and 90% off. Norteamericanos like me are snapping up chunks of Nicaragua as I write. It’s a “Blue Light Sale” at K-Mart in this northern farmer’s market, though I hear residential land in coastal cities is already much higher. But I live in No-Where-City, where everything is loco, including me, with my feet planted firm in “Tierra Mia,” in the corn god’s very sunny kitchen, Nicaragua.

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