August in Dallas means labored air conditioning and drivers jockeying for shaded parking spots, but along the shores of Lake Chapala windows eleven hundred miles to the southwest windows are comfortably open 24 hours.

View of Lake Chapala from the mountains overlooking Ajiijic

The mile-high air is dry and on many nights the surrounding mountains wring cooling seasonal rains out of clouds passing from the Pacific Coast.  Americans come here from places like Texas and Florida and Arizona during the summer to beat the heat.  The Canadians come to winter.

Horseback riders on Ajijic’s cobblestone streets

The local real estate people put great stock in Lake and Mountain views, but many homes can afford at least a mirador view of the mountains and the lakeside pier and malecon are within walking distance of anywhere in the village.

The lake and mountains may flatter each other, but it’s the ever-changing reflections of clouds upon the lake – and their shadows upon the mountains beyond – that make for daily spectacle as the sun moves across the horizon and slips through the seasons.  Its contemplation can be at times meditative.  Gazing upon it through open windows, though, is about more than shirtsleeve comfort.  It’s about inviting the outside to become a part of the inside and in the process removing the distinction between them.  It’s about savoring the smells of burning wood fires and sidewalk kitchens and corner groceries.  It’s about hearing the sounds of sidewalk footsteps and cobblestoned vehicles and street talk.  It’s about breaking down the walls of an air conditioned quarantine and enriching the fabric of each waking moment for all of the senses.