When the Fox Cries

It’s rainy season here in Cusco, and that means if you haven’t planted your wheat, barley, or potatoes yet (depending on the altitude of your community), you are late! These mountains are volatile, and you never know when the rains will suddenly stop and you’ve missed your chance at a strong harvest. Actually, you almost never know. There are some strong clues you can look for.

People who live off the land pay attention to it and its inhabitants. It’s second nature. Better said, it’s probably our first nature. Second nature would be to ignore it and watch the 24 hour news cycle instead. The point is, when your supermarket is what lives and grows around you, you keep your eye on it without considering it something outside of the ordinary.

That’s why people in the mountains know that the long and flat strips of clouds mean frost tomorrow, that a halo around the moon means rain (or not rain? I forgot this one), and that when the fox cries a specific cry, the rainy season has begun. Time to plant!

Here a common answer to the uncommon question, “Why did you decide to plant today?” is simply “Because the fox cried.” Even the kids in our projects know this well, and it is tidbits of local indigenous information like this that we try to use as a base upon which we build our value-based and education activities in all of our projects.