Thursday, October 21, 2010
Here comes the dry
Greetings from a rapidly drying Oconahua!
Yesterday I was out walking around on top of a giant platform at the archaeological site here and noticed that the plants under my feet were starting to get brown and crunchy. The dry season is truly upon us. As I mentioned before, during the rainy season, which lasts from May or June until October or November, most of the annual rainfall falls. For much of the season it will rain for a while every afternoon or night, which really makes everything lush and green after a few weeks. The dry season, which covers the rest of the months of the year, sees very little rainfall and things get drier and drier until the area resembles a desert. The last of the regular rainfall here this year took place in the last week of September, so we are currently about 3 weeks into this year’s dry season.
My timing of my trip this year won’t let me observe the dramatic changes in Oconahua, since things will still be only about 3 months into dying off when I leave in December. The time to really get to see dramatic changes is when the dry season turns to the rainy season in what are the late spring and early summer month in the US. In 2004 I was here during those months and decided to take weekly photographs of the change from April and May before the rains started through my departure in July. When I left in July, things still weren’t as green as they would be later in the rainy season, but it still gave a really good look at the changes.
This week I’m sharing two of those photos. They were taken from on top of the largest pyramid at Los Guachimontones (the site I worked at in Teuchitlan) and look across part of the site and show the town and lake in the valley below. The picture where everything is shades of brown was taken at the end of the dry season and the picture with all the pretty green grass and trees was taken a few weeks in to the rainy season. The difference is amazing, isn’t it? At the time the site was occupied, things would have looked very different. The site was surrounded by pine forests and the natural springs on the hill hadn’t yet dried up.