Rainy day inocentes; or: everyday inocentes

1 Mar

What makes a city springlike?

In LA and Santa Barbara, I figured “spring” meant that the temperature was going to be more stable, keeping steady at 70/75 and not dipping into 65 (ie: coat weather).

In Boston, “spring” meant “I CAN FEEL THE SUN ON MY FACE, REJOICE!” quickly followed by “if it rains another day I will jump off of the Mass Ave bridge” culminating in “IS THAT A NEW FLOWER?! SUMMERRRRRR!!!1!!!”.

Here in Medellín, spring is a combination of the two. Well, to be fair, it’s more LA than Boston, but it borrows a bit from both.

As rumored, the weather is famously consistent, and most paisas only feel comfortable when the weather is between 72-78. Anything more or less is “ay, qué calor!” or “uf, qué frío!“. Houses don’t need things like “air conditioners” or “heaters”, and I’ve yet to be in a home or apartment that utilizes either of these modern conveniences. Your sweatshirt that you’ve brought with you from home? It will sit in the back of your cabinet, collecting dust until you stuff if haphazardly into your backpack before heading off to Santa Elena or Bogotá. I’m constantly surprised by how perfect the weather is, and I’m someone who has lived for 22 years in “perfect” conditions.

But the rain? This is what makes Medellín the City of Eternal Spring. The weather is conducive to growth and the rain makes it happen. This isn’t a Seattle drizzle, nor is it a New England Nor’easter, keeping you inside for days on end. This rain is something else, entirely.

You always know it’s coming. Big blue and grey clouds overhead, comically menacing in an otherwise clear sky. Sometimes you can see it making its way down a mountainside, obscuring literally everything in its wake from view. All you can do is sit and wait for it to engulf you, close the windows and maybe unplug your electronics if you’re worried about lightning strikes (is that a thing?). And, yes, lightning; a very generous amount of it.

…and then, it passes. The violence of the downpour tapers off, and the sun peaks through the tail end of the deluge. The streets start to dry, the droplets disappear from your windows, and everything goes on as it did before. On the California coast you can always see the storm clouds looming  just off of the water, and you know what to expect when they do roll in. But this is different, closer somehow.

There are rainier seasons, like September-November, and there are drier seasons, like December and January. We’ve had weeks, here and there, without rain; we’ve gone months with a little downpour peppering the afternoons. It’s what makes this city and its surroundings so productive, allowing farmers to thrive and fruit trees (shoutout: bananas! mangoes!) to grow wild.

I also perceive that there are no definitive growing seasons (though this could be totally false). We’ve seen mango and banana trees producing fruit at different times in our neighborhood and in surrounding pueblos. They seem to produce “when the mood strikes them”, multiple times each year. And if that is, indeed, the case, un aguacero here and there seems like a fair trade.

The two pictures below are of the downtown area from our bedroom balcony. The first is what it looks like on a “normal” day, with the mountains serving as a backdrop to the commercial center. The second picture is also of downtown, as we wait for a rainshower to move in. Notice the difference?

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