I should have known that Pachamama lives in Patagonia and that she would never allow us to sneak out of winter so easily. Monday and Tuesday are marked by rain and that seeping cold that you feel in your bones and joints. I reluctantly retire my Red Sox cap and return to my trusty wool hat with ear flaps. This morning I awake after snoozing my alarm several times, and pull open the curtains to see that the median strip of Avenida Ogana is white. Snow falls gracefully and delicately, once again asserting its presence and whispering to me, "This is, after all, Patagonia!"
I realize as I stare out the window that I´ve spent almost a year in winter. My mid-twenties will forever be marked by wearing wool scarves and fingerless gloves indoors. A grand contrast to my college years in a California beach town, marked by old t-shirts and flip flops. At least I´ve managed to avoid the transition into professional wear...
But how can we really measure time? In the changing of fashions and the wearing out of a favorite pair of jeans? In the memories triggered by a specific song or smell or sound? In the life spans of relationships or jobs or apartments? In the passing of seasons?
It is now mid-morning and the snow continues to fall: fat, fluffy flakes collecting on the woodpile outside. I watch my sixth graders take a quiz and find myself fascinated by the expressions on their faces. Felipe, who has big blue eyes and won´t talk to girls because he was left by his mom, is working diligently. Karen, whose big brother stole 100 bucks from a teacher´s wallet, stares at her blank paper and throws an eraser across the room. Daniel, who always carries my messenger bag to class despite the fact that it is twice his weight, sits front and center and adjusts his new government-issued glasses. "Tia," he whispers urgently, "do you understand a lot more now that you´ve been here a while?" I look down at his curious face and tattered pencil case and smile. "Yes," I say, "I understand a lot more." And then I realize that maybe I do know how to measure time after all.