Thursday, November 11, 2010


I left in the dark, scurrying down the streets of Oaxaca with the other faithful in search of peace and contemplation at sunrise. I passed the doorways of the banks with la revolucion graffiti tagging their broad lintels; young adults gathered in the middle of the streets around scaffolding and tables stacked up for some purpose related to the upcoming Holy Days I suppose; I wondered, as usual, as they eyed me warily, about the wisdom of setting out for a destination whose location nor path was certain. Many times I have chided myself in the darkness of mornings just like this one; but the soft, gauzy air of early morning seduces me and whispers in my ear, so sweetly, what's the worsssst that can happen? So I push on. But then, right at the very end of block 5, it all unfolds and snaps open right at my toes, exploding without warning nor omen, and opens up as high as my neck can stretch with such a jerk, that I involuntarily gasp. Santo Domingo. Just like the desk clerk said. I can hear the priest intoning the
opening prayers and I shake my head as I run up the steps: once again, about as far away from home
as you can get, I am saved by the loving arms of the Holy Roman Church. I pick up my pace and enter, bowing my head and folding my hands, so everyone will know this
white-skinned green-eyed gringo
comes in peace. Actually looking for redemption. I march
right down front, because I can, and slip into an open spot, sinking to my knees and beginning, Hail Mary, my Dear Friend, I'm here again.SaveMe.
Help Me. She comes to me then,
with rest and understanding and

the readings begin. Then, the
priest, white and Irish, speaks the words of the New Testament.
I had no idea the Irish could speak spot-on Spanish. I listen to it all, the cadence cueing me when my vocabulary fails and soon the kiss of peace fills the

air. The people around me are not afraid of me nor resentful
that I share their special moment in the day. The deacon offers me the Body of Christ, as it's done all over the world, and once again, I am calmed and humbled to know that I am loved
and that I belong. I am grateful. But sad and puzzled at the gorgeous art of
magnificent church: all white fathers. Only one native-skinned saint among the bunch, off in a corner. If Rome expected me to raise my black-eyed children in a house where we looked to the Great White Fathers for all things, I'm afraid there'd be more than just a pequeno la revolucion in my soul.

Like the Italians know everything.

On Assignment
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca MEXICO

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