Saturday, November 13, 2010


I'm waiting for the car to pick me up to go to Mexico City and it all comes back to me in brief glimpses and flashes. What I remember most is the kindness and generosity of the people and the smile in their eyes. The people here embrace any who come in celebration and respect for the dead and will feed you, kiss you and fill you with their faith and love. Quite a testimony to an enlightened and value-driven society.

Our guide Pablo tells me that he expects certainly that in fifty years the celebrations will still be alive; the children trailed their grandmothers in and out of the graveyards and reverently and obediently fulfilled their parts in the family and community liturgies in play, hauling marigolds and candles and fruit and festooning the graves with loving care. And then fiestaed and celebrated with each other with delight and to the delight of all bystanders. Pablo remarked that the thing that will certainly be differentgoing forward is how the people celebrating the La Dias de los Muertos will look. The long braids streaked in silver and gray and wrapped and woven in brightly colored ribbons will vanish, along with the nubby long lengths of fabric that sheath both the men and the women from the cold. Replaced by manufactured shirts and blouses with buttonholes and collars and LA Rams windbreakers with pockets holding cellphones, the faithful will remain and replenish but will forever look different. I feel so humbled to have been able to see this on this year and I will remember it always. Pablo also told me the graveyard celebrations observed deep in the hills outside Oaxaca that we witnessed are not done in Oaxaca because Oaxaca was Spanish-occupied. The first thing the Spanish did was abolish native celebrations such as Las Dias de Los Muertos as they were inconsistent with the catechism of the Catholic Church. These indigenous celebrations exist in communities today because the Spanish never made it up to the hill country to occupy the villages; because as they say, there was no (gold) up those tunnels. Such serendipity…

Yesterday we went to the livestock market outside of town. Drove up to hundreds of sheep, goats, pigs,mules, donkeys, horses, steers and bulls being led to market. We milled about with everyone buying and selling and the aroma of manure, mud and lunch bubbling away in the huge pots being tended by the women with the long braids filled the air. Unmistakably extraordinary and unmistakably divina. Walked up and down streets of art galleries last evening and mingled in the incredibly rich, incredibly dynamic local arts community and saw everything that we've been seeing all week reproduced in hip and cutting edge mediums. The art here is magnificent. Again: extraordinary. divina. And it's ALL art.

And so I pack it up to take with me as I head home. I have many commitments and responsibilities waiting for me and I'll get right back to work immediately; but I want so badly to keep this past week for always. Santo Domingo. Monte Alban. Mitla. St. Augustin. The marigolds, mescal. The chocolate! The candle-light, the prayers, the eyes that follow you as you walk. I simply don't know if my heart is big enough to hold the exquisite texture and quality of it all. Because now I have gone among las gallendas di corazon and I am small; I am so very small…

On Assignment
Oaxaca City, Oaxaca MEXICO

1 comment:

SylphSong said...

Just cannot get enough. <3 <3 <3