Sustainably Yours: The Sustainability of Summer Downtime 

Summer is very much upon us in coastal Jalisco and Nayarit. This chapter in between the barren dry season and full-on wet season is a mini heaven. The watering can gets packed away and the machete doesn’t quite need to be sharpened yet. Predominant tasks shift from keeping the garden alive to keeping its growth from swallowing you whole. But not quite yet.

I love those first tentative rains that inspire luminous green growth, unfurling before your eyes like stop action. The rising choruses of cicadas, frogs, mosquitoes and birdsong reverberate in the country, making the night time an almost deafening chorus. As of writing, the earnest rains have not yet started and you can walk about the countryside without feeling mired in mud the consistency of peanut butter. Not yet. Puddles squirming with tadpoles are still a dangerous proposition to the little guys – puddles evaporate from one day to the next.

I’ve always felt since moving here what a shame so many non-national visitors miss out on this emerald time, resplendent with lightning storms and abundance in so many forms. Mangoes precede the serious rains in a fruity downfalls. Avocadoes are quietly plumping up on the bough. One’s spirit can re-charge amidst the bounty after a busy high season.

Yes, it’s hot, but it’s nothing a little hammock decompression can’t handle. New habits are formed: carrying dampened ‘sweat rags’, bookending any required hustling on either side of a midafternoon siesta… Soon the creeks and riparian tributaries will be swollen with frigid water. As for the former, basking in the seasonal creeks with a picnic is pretty much my definition of heaven.

In our former careers up north, working in horticulture in a tough northern climate, we were grateful as youngsters to have winters off. This seasonal necessity allowed us to travel, with our jobs waiting for us in the spring. Once my husband and I decided to start our family, however, the part time gypsy lifestyle didn’t seem likely to be sustainable. At least to our taste. Instead, amongst other factors, we decided that relocating to Jalisco/Nayarit might offer a similar seasonal work pattern (6 months on, 6 months off) without the imperative to escape snow. We hoped the relocation would facilitate a lifestyle that supported us but also supported ample family time and rest.

The hunch turned out to be correct. Even though managing one’s household throughout the feast and famine cycles of high season/low season can be challenging, with diligence required in the financial arena, the tropical summer time offers a rejuvenating stretch that few conventional lifestyles can support. The season represents to me another form of sustainability – a certain period of creative idleness and flexibility that counter balances the routines and regimentation of the other half of the year. Remember – your siestas are recharging your creative juices like the rains recharging aquifers. For those of you lucky enough to be sweating in coastal Jalisco and Nayarit right now, enjoy these verdant days of summer down time!

Emily Majewski
Emily Majewski is Co-Founder of PHYTOSTONE, a small firm based in Nayarit dedicated to creating advanced natural materials for home and garden.