Archive for November, 2010

A veil of green

Last week, I looked at a house for rent on Cerrada de San Sebastían. The man showing the house had been born in it some 60+ years ago. He was one of 13. They had kept hens for fresh eggs during those times. Guanajuato was different then. There was nothing above the Panoramica except for hills and sky. His wife told me many happy memories had been made at the house. Her mother-in-law always held dinners and posadas, inviting pilgrims off the street for a meal. It had been a festive home.

When she showed me the front porch, she told me the tree trimmer would be coming the next morning. Her father-in-law had planted the tree decades ago to keep those passing by from staring at the sisters as they sat on the outside bench. Sometimes, all eight girls would sit watching the street action, hidden behind the tree. Fifty years later, the tree’s function of veiling the girls is no longer needed, and the owners thought the new tenants might want an unobstructed view of the street.

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I spent Friday in San Miguel, visiting Sharon at the first Charity Golf Tournament where her husband John did a tremendous amount of work. Afterwards, I headed over to F’s house and had a nice conversation with his mother.  She and Tia Juanita were watching their telenovela. This was the 4th incarnation of this particular telenovela. F’s mom told me about when she first heard the telenovela.  She was a girl of ten making tortillas for dinner.  Back then, it took two hours to make tortillas, and everyone would listen to this “novela” on the radio. She told me the radio transported everyone in those days, far away from hand-washing and cooking into the vibrant worlds they would create in their heads.

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Understanding & Home

Love allows understanding to dawn, and understanding is precious. Where you are understood, you are at home. Understanding nourishes belonging. When you really feel understood, you feel free to release yourself into the trust and shelter of the other person’s soul.
— John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

More John O’Donohue in one of his last interviews before his death in 2008 on The Inner Landscape of Beauty.

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Olmec Colossal Head

Olmec Colossal Head No. 1 discovered at the Olmec settlement of  Tres Zapotes in 1939. Photographed at the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa, Veracruz, where F and I walked through the most important collection of pre-Columbian works including these wondrous heads.

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Streets of Naolinco

We spent F’s 40th birthday in Naolinco, a charming town in the State of Veracruz. As we walked the town, admiring the bright colors and festive decorations for La Independencia, we heard an old man tell another old man that the rain would be here soon. We looked for evidence of this, and found none, except the air smelled a bit like wet tires.

An hour later, we huddled under an awning as it rained sheets of angry water pellets from a big bellied sky that had been split open, without warning. Dropping like nails it came down and bounced off the ground, until a small river formed and began taking over the sidewalk. We noticed a few people had been caught in the rain like us, including a bunch of adolescents that ran up and down the street screaming with youth and circumstance, invigorated by the storm.

We waited and waited.  The rain didn’t let up. A few cars boated down the waterway. The water, the greyness, and sound orchestrated into a meditation. Waiting wasn’t so bad. Then came a truck, the kind with enormous wheels. It was moving fast and splaying water from both sides. F motioned for it to slow down. It did not. As the monster truck passed us, we were doused in a wave of water… all of our awning positioning had been a complete waste of time. Fernando chased after the truck, hitting it smartly on the back window with a 10 peso coin. Water refugees moved from their perch to see what would happen next.  Fortunately, the truck kept going.

Now that we were wet from the waist down, we were liberated from our awning sanctuary and made our way to the bus station in ankle high water and rain.  It wasn’t that bad.

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Paprika and cumin: two popular color choices for home exteriors.

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Ali collage

Yesterday, 4 year old Ali asked if she could take some photos. I gave her my camera and she took photos of pretty dresses, pink sandals, and store displays. Her sister, Gabby, preferred street scenes and plants. Here’s Ali next to one of her photographs.

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