Butt-mountain: Life In A Steppe Climate

If you were to sit in my living room and look out the picture window, you would see an enormous mountain that is about one-half mile from my front door. I have named it "Butt-mountain" for the butt-like rock formation that sits on its top. Butt-mountain, you would no doubt observe, is covered with yellowish, hay-like vegetation with a sparse sprinkling of small green shrubs. It is stark. It makes one wonder what sort of toxic waste disaster took place to make Butt-mountain look so, well, dead.

Further observation would reveal that farmers send their cattle up there to graze, which leaves you wondering what they find to eat up there.

Butt-mountain is not alone.

All of Guanajuato is pretty much like Butt-mountain: dry, shrubs everywhere, cactus, and yellowish hay-like grass. The reason for this is that the town to which my wife and I moved from Kansas City (the land of hideous weather) resides in what is sometimes referred to as a "Steppe Climate".

A Steppe Climate is one in which evaporation exceeds precipitation. Note that this is a generalization because technically the entire state of Guanajuato has three types of climates: semi-dry, temperate, and semi-warm.

The city of Guanajuato is located right along the dividing line between the "temperate semi-humid" and the "semi-warm, sub-humid" regions. So we get a little of both of the two sub-climates. Thus, we get dry, shrubs, cactus, and yellowish, hay-like grass in our little neck of the Mexican woods.

This is essentially a mountain-like desert without the blowing sand. In addition, we do have the rainy season that transforms the topography into a luscious carpet of greenery so that those poor cattle on my Butt-mountain can have something real to eat. The state does have some regions of temperate climate.

"In general this climate is intermediate in terms of temperature (mesothermal). The plant types which commonly grow in it are oak forests, oak-pine forests, pine forests, chaparral and grazing land. It appears in six variants, covering 20% of the total area and unevenly distributed. The least humid climate is found chiefly in the southeast, in the municipalities of Apaseo, Jer├ęcuaro and Yuriria."

What all of this meant to me at the time of our move was that at last I had found an environment in which the symptoms of my chronic illness would stabilize. And, indeed, they have. If you are afflicted with any sort of illness that reacts to constantly shifting weather patterns, then this type of climate is just what the doctor ordered.

I suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome. This pain and fatigue disorder lays me low when the weather constantly changes. When we lived in Kansas City, the land of weather torture, I was always in pain--it was unrelenting. I spent untold days in bed from being too tired to get out of it.

This Land of Eternal Springtime (as it is sometimes called) is perfect for people who are "weather-vanes".

I have two friends are afflicted with illnesses that are also reactive to sudden and frequent weather changes. They report that they cannot get out of bed, suffer from unrelenting pain, and are miserable in the United States. One moved to our little community while one stayed in America. The one here has seen marked improvement. She is more active and can get around better. The other one is just as miserable as we all were when we lived in the United States.

"Mexico has some of the best climate in the world! It's located just far enough north in latitude to avoid the extreme heat and humidity that most countries have that are located closer to the equator. Yet it is far enough south to avoid the harsh winters that can hit much of the United States and Canada."

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