Dawn broke across the Rio Grande Valley. The eastern sky changed from inky black to indigo to cobalt to robin’s egg. The Sandia Mountains appeared, shifting from void to defined monolith. The clouds reflected deep purple then rose then orange and lemon finally settling on snowy white.
Maíz Azul was awake early, as was her way. She looked over her garden in the valley. Everything was in its proper order and place. Vegetables in well defined rows according to their height and purpose. Flowers arranged in neat clumps bordering the perimeter. She looked across the fence to see her sister Judía Pinta’s plot of land. It too was in order but with much more variety and texture than Maíz Azul was comfortable with. But her baby sister, Flor de Calabaza’s garden was a riot. Colors all mixed up, flowers and vegetables intertwining and cris crossing all over the place. Maíz Azul shook her head. That girl’s garden is as crazy as she is.
Maíz Azul turned to the noise of Judía Pinta coming out. They came together at the fence and greeted each other. They spoke of the butterflies and the hummingbirds. After a time Flor de Calabaza came outside. Maíz and Judía crossed over and greeted her. The three sisters spoke of the rain and the wind, of the day and the night. A roadrunner hopped onto the fence, a lizard in his beak.
At last they parted company to begin their daily work in the gardens. Maíz Azul busied herself with re-potting new geraniums. She knelt before her terracotta pots and deftly arranged the pink, and salmon, and red flowers in a pleasing arrangement. Judía Pinta focused on a variety of succulents around her stepping stones. Flor de Calabaza attacked the weeds that had sprung up through out her garden.
As afternoon waned the three sisters finished their tasks and cleaned up. The sun dipped behind the cottonwoods along the irrigation ditch. The sisters heard horses along the ditch and went to greet Hermano Al Pastor and La Encantada de Perros along with their puppies. Hermano Al Pastor unpacked the carne adovada that he brought, La Encantada opened up her satchel of herbs and greens. Maíz Azul brought out freshly made tortillas, while Judía Pinta fetched her pot of newly made refritos, and Flor de Calabaza retrieved a plate of calabacitas.
As the food was laid out on the outdoor table, firelitos were lit along with chimineas. The setting sun lit the sky on fire with yellows, oranges, and reds streaking across the heavens.
More noise came from the ditch. The sister’s suitors had arrived: first Ocotillo Hosteen, tall, dark haired and quiet; then Pera Espinoso, big, tall and good natured; finally Sotol Desierto, also tall with a spark of mischief. Each had brought the libations for the evening. Ocotillo presented to Maíz a bottle of red wine made from his own vineyard. Pera offered to Judía an aged flask of Caribbean rum he had traded for. Sotol made a preset of his own concoction of mescal to Calabaza.
Les hombres and mujers sat down to eat and drink. Sotol poured wine, and made mojitos and margaritas. Pera wove a rich tableau of stories told to him by the coyote and the raven. Ocotillo spoke of the sun and the moon and the firmament, and what lies beyond. Food was passed around until no one could eat another bite.
As the sky turned inky and the stars bloomed a faint noise could be heard far away. Soon the group could distinguish the flute of Kokopeli. Ocotillo stood and offered his had to Maíz. She placed her hand in his and they rose and began to dance to the mystical tune. Only briefly did the others watch before they too rose and danced to the tune that was woven just for them.