August has been hot. August is always hot here. The south is now arid and parched, but that thought crosses my mind every year, and it goes without saying that it’s nothing compared to some regions of the world. It’s only around six months since it rained. It does tend to make you realize how devastating prolonged droughts are.
On the wee hike up Montaña Roja the other day I met a perfectly nice, young, Russian guy, who lives in London. He wouldn’t be convinced that the north of the island is a different world, where there are mountains where mists constantly seep through the trees, colorful cities full of colonial history, or lush valleys where bananas and vines cover the landscape. He preferred his own version of Tenerife, which was the one before him at that moment.
It was a shame I’d deleted these photos from my camera. I could have shown them to him to prove that just 3 days before I’d been in fragrant pine forests, shivering after sundown, and admiring this season’s crop of chestnuts. I’m no expert – except on eating them, that is! – but it looked like rich pickings to me. I adore chestnuts whether freshly roasted from a street vendor, mixed with onions and spices and crammed into a turkey, or the best sweet ever invented marrons glacés! Yet another reason why Fall is my favorite season!
I wasn’t there for fun. I was earning a crust, but since, as you guys know, I always have my camera with me, this is what I came up with.
I was just above Las Raices. I’d driven slowly (because I could and because that’s how my little car likes to drive) through roadsides lined with the sharp scent of eucalyptus, and pine forests smelling evocatively of Christmas. I’d trundled down a dirt track and emerged in the surrounds of a rural hotel.
Though the trees were green and shady you can see that even here the ground is dry and the grasses withered. The day was as hot as any on the coast. The hotel was in a clearing. But when the sun began to dip beyond the tops of the trees the mountain air freshened and a slight chill set in. It’s the beauty of this climate, none of those choking-hot and humid nights you find in other sub-tropical places.
And the chestnuts, as you can see, are ripening nicely. It will a while yet, barring some really bad weather, the heat will decline slowly over the next three months or so, until we awake one morning with cold toes and realize it’s time to put the duvet back on the bed.