RSULA HAD to make a great effort to fulfill her promise to die when it cleared. The waves of lucidity that were so scarce during the rains became more frequent after August, when an and wind began to blow and suffocated the rose bushes and petrified the piles of mud, and ended up scattering over Macondo the burning dust that covered the rusted zinc roofs and the age-old almond trees forever. ?rsula cried in lamentation when she discovered that for more than three years she had been a plaything for the children. She washed her painted face, took off the strips of brightly colored cloth, the dried lizards and frogs, and the rosaries and old Arab necklaces that they had hung all over her body, and for the first time since the death of Amaranta she got up out of bed without anybody’s help to join in the family life once more. The spirit of her invincible heart guided her through the shadows. Those who noticed her stumbling and who bumped into the archangelic arm she kept raised at head level thought that she was having trouble with her body, but they still did not think she was blind. She did not need to see to realize that the flower beds, cultivated with such care since the first rebuilding, had been destroyed by the rain and ruined by Aureliano Segundo’s excavations, and that the walls and the cement of the floors were cracked, the furniture mushy and discolored, the doors off their hinges, and the family menaced by a spirit of resignation and despair that was inconceivable in her time. Feeling her way along through the empty bedrooms she perceived the continuous rumble of the termites as they carved the wood, the snipping of the moths in the clothes closets, and the devastating noise of the enormous red ants that had prospered during the deluge and were undermining the foundations of the house. One day she opened the trunk with the saints and had to ask Santa Sofía de la Piedad to get off her body the cockroaches that jumped out and that had already turned the clothing to dust. “A person can’t live in neglect like this,?she said. “If we go on like this we’ll be devoured by animals.?From then on she did not have a moment of repose. Up before dawn, she would use anybody available, even the children. She put the few articles of clothing that were still usable out into the sun, she drove the cockroaches off with powerful insecticide attacks, she scratched out the veins that the termites had made on doors and windows and asphyxiated the ants in their anthills with quicklime. The fever of restoration finally brought her to the forgotten rooms. She cleared out the rubble and cobwebs in the room where Jos?Arcadio Buendía had lost his wits looking for the Philosopher’s stone, she put the silver shop which had been upset by the soldiers in order, and lastly she asked for the keys to Melquíades?room to see what state it was in. Faithful to the wishes of Jos?Arcadio Segundo, who had forbidden anyone to come in unless there was a clear indication that he had died, Santa Sofía de la Piedad tried all kinds of subterfuges to throw ?rsula off the track. But so inflexible was her determination not to surrender even the most remote corner of the house to the insects that she knocked down every obstacle in her path, and after three days of insistence she succeeded in getting them to open the door for her. She had to hold on to the doorjamb so that the stench would not knock her over, but she needed only two seconds to remember that the schoolgirls?seventy-two chamberpots were in there and that on one of the rainy nights a patrol of soldiers had searched the house looking for Jos?Arcadio Segundo and had been unable to find him.