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Cabin Life in Jalisco Near Puerto Vallarta - Part 2

March 21, 2014

There was a welcome chill to the air, but the sun would soon enough begin to warm the green valley below, checkered with occasional yellowing cornfields and orderly rows of deep green citrus trees.

El Tuito, Jalisco, Mexico - First thing that morning, I had a fight with my wife.

It was because I woke her up, repeatedly, while I was looking for something in our just finished, sweet pine smelling model cabin in our eco-development called Tierra Alta. It is located in the very beautiful oak forested foothills near the mountain town of El Tuito less than an hour from Puerto Vallarta's South Shore.


There was a welcome chill to the air. Of course the sun would soon enough begin to warm the green valley below, checkered with occasional yellowing cornfields and orderly rows of deep green citrus trees.

Admittedly, it was early - my usual 5 a.m. rising hour in Vallarta (which we now sometimes call "the city"). I was making an extreme effort at being quiet while looking for a pen or pencil and some scrap of paper-anything that I could use to record my delicate, perhaps even exquisite perceptions after the inaugural night in our new, sweet smelling cabin. (The sharp smell of the wood treatment that eradicates termites had quickly faded to a faint memory as the pine sap re-emerged and oozed like a fragrant syrup from the log sidings on the outside of our cabin.)

The chicharras, or cicadas as they are known to gringos, had serenaded us through the night, falling silent as dawn approached. The North American cicada spends the better part of 17 years buried underground. That roughly corresponds to my wife's sleep pattern. Xochitl (pronounced "So-Chill) is one of those fortunate people who sleep a deep, innocent, unbroken sleep - unless, of course, I make a lot of noise because I can't find a pencil.

I recognize that within the context of the relative silence at the cabin, the noise I made looking for a writing instrument and a piece of paper must have sounded like some random search and rescue operation being led by an angry squirrel. But in my defense, it was the intense quiet at the cabin that caused the noise problem, not me. Yes, there are natural sounds that reach our cabin deck overlooking the valley. At dawn you will hear the occasional cow lowing in the fields below, a sheep bleating, birds launching their glorious morning chorale and then the chickens begin their strangled chants just down the road.


But if you are used to the normal background noise of urban life, any near-at-hand sound in the cabin is exaggerated by its contrast with the relative silence of the mountain forest environment. One's hearing seems to be resensitized by the absence of ambient noise. Distant voices occasionally float up from the road below to the cabin deck, where a few fragments will sound oddly close. Each noise - natural or man-made - seems more clearly defined simply because there is so little competing background sound clutter in the air.

My wife made several comments that first early morning - comments I prefer not to remember or claim not to fully understand since my Spanish is less than perfect. She may have posed a question about how someone could ever attempt to write anything of value if such a person can't even find a pencil in the morning without disturbing his tired wife, much in need of a long undisturbed sleep. "Who would want to read anything written by such a person?", she quite reasonably asked. I don't have the answer to that question. I'm still thinking about it. And, I never found a pencil that morning.

But I do have some new theories about cabin living, only vaguely related to the absence of pencils. They are based almost entirely on pure assumption rather than experience since I have a total of one night's empirical practice at cabin life as an adult.

If your cabin is your escape getaway:

Don't leave city work materials - files, brief case, etc. - sitting around in plain view. If you have to bring work with you, hide the evidence from yourself and your friends and family until you need to get the work done. Then do it and immediately pack away the materials again as if they were some dark secret. Leaving the work files lying around will remind everyone including yourself that you are officially "at work." That's counter to the cabin idea which is to frame your cabin time by the fiction that you have no obligations anywhere in this world.

If your cabin is your creative getaway:

Same measures as above. Nobody trying to be creative wants evidence of his daily work obligation in the same living space with his creative endeavors. Again, the work materials will sort of "stare at you" if they are unpacked and readily visible. And, don't talk about work, either. Don't let work "win."

If your cabin is your retirement home:

This will soon be my case and I must admit I'm not quite prepared for it. The absence of work won't be the problem for me that it is for so many recent retirees. I have been quite ready to exit the work world for several years. For me, it's more a question of how much creative work (writing, in my case), can be reasonably accommodated in a post-retirement life without that creative process itself becoming the new tyrant in your life. Well there's only one way to find out, but unfortunately, I can't just "up and retire" at the moment.

Nope. You'll be hearing more from me on "Cabin Life" before I actually make it to the promised land of full retirement. Odd that we wait our entire adult lives to reach a condition of full devotion to our own time.


Set on 5 hectares of rolling hillsides, the Tierra Alta eco cabin development will comprise 21 country cabins built for weekend enjoyment or full-time living. With only 21 choice lots to choose from, and cabin/lot combined pricing starting at only $95,000 USD, reservations are already being taken. If you would like to see what the Tierra Alta lifestyle offers you, please call Tropicasa Realty's Wayne Franklin or Jorge Guillen at (322) 222-6505 to set an appointment to preview the model cabin and breathe the fresh mountain air of El Tuito.