Sometimes it’s hard to tell. In the winter, I go through great pains to escape our local weather when I visit Mérida. But sometimes, our weather pairs up pretty well. Both these pictures were taken this week. Left is West Broadway today, in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Right was earlier this week in Mérida, which has been enduring heavy rains and lightning.
When the skies cleared today, our neighbors gathered at the end of the street. Police had placed barricades there to keep us from drowning in the foot or so water that had accumulated. Irene was damaging, but no where as much as it could have.
Weather in the New York area will be calm and clear tomorrow, but trains will still be stalled and school openings are delayed. This adds to the evidence compiled after the earthquake earlier in the week: we’re just not prepared for Mother Nature’s wrath. We build on the beach, or up to the sky, or on the edge of a cliff — and hope for the best.
If I built a concrete house with a flat roof, my neighbors would think I was odd. I’m not even sure the design would get past the planning and zoning board — setback laws, you know. But I have to say, the Colonial style houses I see in cities like Mérida make more and more sense to me every day. I think I first took notice of them watching a TV show about Morocco — they also built their old city in this mode. I found it hard to understand how you could build right to the sidewalk, but the idea of a place so sturdy, so mysterious — its facade a poker face to the street — never really escaped my memory.
Now it’s hard to understand how you could nail together some lumber and call it a house, or build a glass tower over the Hudson and call it safe. And how cheap it seems to design things like a fish bowl, leaving nothing to the imagination of people passing by. Like people, houses are most attractive when they’re a little mysterious.