A friend sent me a message the other day that said: there are three choices in life, give up, give in, or give it all you’ve got.
Very true, I reflected as I glanced at the beautifully dressed kids last Saturday afternoon at Pinal Villa. ‘Este rincón’ – this corner – where I worked with Leonardo, a young Mixteca man, was just outside the gate of the compound……our job consisted of greeting the visiting families from the community and writing their names down on individual tickets. The place hummed with earnest energy and an air of exuberance – the mood was high. It was a beautiful afternoon and the skies shone bright and clear and warm, and I could see, even from my ‘rincón’, that the party was running smoothly because the volunteers, both new ones and regulars, were giving it all they had.
if there is any enchantment in good people working together in friendly companionship, they made strong magic that day. I believe, though, that it was more a mundane matter ie. Dr. Rosa and her volunteers organizing a well orchestrated event, toiling over the program, finding special people for different jobs, in short, giving it everything they had. It was easy to forget this, being there, and that sometimes great events swing on modest hinges. Such was this posada, an obvious success.
At the beginning of the program, under bright blue skies, we sang a traditional posada song, one whose imagery has been hallowed by long tradition in the Catholic Church. There were song sheets, ensuring my interest as well as most people there. Some of the gathering were placed outside the gate ( afuera ) with Miguel and his guitar, and others were inside ( adentro ); it was an enactment of the Mary/Jose/baby Jesus story in which ‘La Reina del Cielo’ can find no room in the inn. As a Spanish teacher I scrutinized the language on the sheet, wondering if there might be a lesson there….we are ‘peregrinos’, pilgrims, finding our way in ‘este rincón de la tierra.’ Characteristically ‘la reina del cielo’ was referred to frequently in the song, not Dr. Rosa exactly who incidentally dresses in pure white……but wait, my faulty image of the Virgin kept being replaced by Dr. Rosa with a floppy straw hat…..como es que de noche anda tan solita? When we finished the song, Miguel (singer/teacher/entertainer) led the outside group into the gate, and then it was piñata time. But I was still thinking about the song, and it came to me that while I was singing, watching the ring of faces, their eyes like sparks as the song kindled and took light in their souls – it came to me that the way to people’s souls was through their hearts, not through their mInds. Stories and songs are the language of the heart.
My husband and I left before the pozole was dished up while there were still volunteers clapping, kids dancing and happy parents laughing. The sunset which is always so beautiful at Pinal Villa had been extraordinary, the sky gold and orange, intensified with bright purple hues…and the light…oh, the light! The light is sometimes found in unlikely places. This corner of the earth, and not for the first time, had been awash with light. Was it telling me, a lonely wanderer like so many there, to watch the high heaven perform its inscrutable works and see the shapes of possibility taking place there? I like to think so.