In an attempt to avoid talking about yet another horrific crime that occurred this week but hasn’t hit the papers yet, I’ll talk about something much more pleasant: the power outage we had last weekend.

Our son wakes up about 6am every morning, and I usually give him a nice warm bottle of milk, change him and snuggle him in the rocking chair by the window with the view of the palm trees outside his bedroom. When he gets bored I bring him downstairs, deposit him in front of his toy box and the obscene amount of second-hand toys that we’ve inherited from friends and family (thank you, thank you, thank you!), whilst I sit semi-conscious on the couch and stare at the morning news. Sidebar: Is it just me, or has broadcast journalism just become ridiculously unprofessional lately?? Anyway, I was propped up by pillows in my vegetative state when the TV shut itself off, along with the lights, the ceiling fan, and the loudest dehumidifier in Central America.

I continued to stare at the black TV screen and waited motionless for it to come back on. It didn’t. So I finally dragged myself off the cushion, retrieved one of the fashion magazines that my mom had so thoughtfully brought down with her and retired to the screened-in patio where it was brighter…with cat and baby trailing along behind.

After about five minutes, I noticed something…it was incredibly loud outside. There were at least a dozen birds within 50 feet of where I sat. The surrounding bushes and trees were full of American Restarts, Hooded Orioles, and Great-Tailed Grackles. I know this for a fact, because I am not much of a bird person and looked them all up online when the power came back on. I also learned that American Redstarts breed across the Northern US and Canada, then spend the winter in Central America and the Caribbean. Très chic. And quite a bit of territory to cover for a bird that’s about the size of a finch.  

I never realized how loud it was in the mornings, probably because I sleep with earplugs and a fan. It was also cool enough to step back inside and grab one of the small blankets we throw across the couch for when the AC really kicks in.

Fast forward 15 hours. The sun had set, and I stepped out into the carport to look at something…I don’t even remember what…and was met by an aromatic cloud of jasmine. Actually I have no idea if it was jasmine or not. I sniffed around till I found a flowering tree at the edge of the lawn. It looked like jasmine, small white flowers and all. But they were dangling off some sort of palm tree in large clumps that looked like popcorn balls. I finally gave up searching for that one. Perhaps it’s a new species.