SAGEYucatan, the present dayChapter One
A Storm Warning
Merida is an ancient city, sensual and sophisticated. I loved it on sight and dreamed of getting lost there, a fantasy that haunts me still.As special guests, our wooden chairs had been placed on a small dais in the center of tinySanta Lucia Square. Sitting in the front row, making notes, I watched couples dance on animprovised stage. Dark suited men darted like moths. Women in white whirled coquettishly;trays of champagne glasses delicately balanced on their heads.I knew about balancing acts, have gotten good at them.
Not now, not tonight,
I pleaded to —to whom? Ixchel; it was her territory.
I want to have fun tonight
, I told the Maya moongoddess. This is
time.Leaning back, I fluttered a sandalwood fan against the sultry night, savoring the quaintold park with its graceful archways and lush plantings. The
band sounded great; horns,violins, lots of guitars. When lightening sliced the sky I sat up with a start. A low roar echoed inthe distance, barely discernable. Thunder crashed above me now. How quickly the weather changes in Yucatan. The first, fast drops of rain pelted my hair, splashed my face.Companions were already up and running. Behind us was a narrow street, beyond that our hotel.Two group members were halfway there, our leader shepherding the rest across deepeningrivulets of rainwater.