High Desert Life

by Miles Hutchins

Spring time in Central Oregon.

Ah, yes, we remember it well. Long anticipated, well rewarded with flowers, budding trees and green grass to replace the brown and the white stuff. We will skip that four-letter word for “the white stuff.”

Here on the shores of Lake Chapala, spring time is also popping up with lovely surprises, vigorous growth on banana and palm trees, flowers of exotic and semi-tropical ilk. And the birds are going nut-so.

Hummingbirds, sparrows and more are vying with cicadas to make a racket for our attention. The cicadas are miscalled rain birds around here because they foretell the rainy season about to start.

That’s right, we get about 90 percent of our rain between June and October. Hot days because it is summer, but cool nights because the rain comes almost always at night. Lots of donner und blitzen accompanies the rain.

And I thought summer storms in Central Oregon were spectacular!

Our population is down to a few thousand right now because the snow-birds have gone NOB, otherwise known as Canada and USA. It does make driving around lakeside easier and shopping is not as crowded, but the downside is that we miss some friends.

What is happening right now is a veritable building boom. Houses, apartments and commercial buildings are being erected just about everywhere you look. Like next door to us, down the street and a block over from us. The secret is out — Lake Chapala is a happening place. Welcome new neighbors.

The local American Legion held a Memorial Day service and feed. Pit-roasted pig, corn on the cob and all the other fixins. They will do something equally spectacular on the Fourth of July. So, while we enjoy the Mexican people, their homeland, customs and many holiday celebrations, we get our dose of back-home celebrations as well.

One of the real joys for us is to dine out — a lot. Not just finding good food and service, but being surprised by meeting new people.

For example, the other day we spotted the name Portland on the back of a shirt worn by our host. Turns out, Tony had recently come from Portland, Oregon, where he learned the chef trade for several years. He grew up in lakeside, specifically, Ajijic.

He has lived in Italy and the U.S. but now is home plying his trade.

And we are very glad for it.

— Miles Hutchins is a retired former Redmond resident who grew up in Central Oregon and now lives in Mexico. Contact him at milesredmond@gmail.com .