Los Indígenas

The Indian has other doors to the future than the door to modern culture, other doors than the road already cleared by Latin culture. And for many other reasons, too, he stands out as different in Mexico, ‘different’ than the average Mexican. I wish I knew how best to describe it…..many suns will pass before I’m properly able to analyze the impression I have of the indigenous people produced by another visit to the aubergue at Pinal Villa.

Feeling the sun on my back, listening to the birds filling field and sky with pure hymns to the sun, to the day, to life itself, I once again attend to my promise to effect positive change in the education of the students under Magda’s care; and while I’m waiting for them to return from the fields I talk to Brenda and Hermila cooking dinner, and view the work of Richard Willan who has just installed a beautiful tile floor for the nursery. I met a gentleman-carpenter who set up his ‘workshop’ beneath the burning sun – he is making doors and repairing them, complete with mosquiteros. There are helpers in the computer room and lots of women sewers showing up for sewing class. They are all ‘buena gente’, good people. We are the bold shadows to Dr. Rosa’s bright sun. It occurs to me that some lives are like arrows; shot into the air, they fly and fall. Others are like circles….where they seem to end, they really begin again. Maybe those things that rise toward oneness live forever, I muse. Or those people.

This place conceals a secret at its heart and I cannot know it any more than I can untangle the vines surrounding this place. Is it the land that evokes the mystery or is it the people? I think I only see the surface of things; my senses deceive me if I think I can discover the whole through some of its parts, never imagining what worlds may be hidden behind, say, the making of a tortilla, or a temazcal. I’ll never uncover the civilizations beneath the tangled undergrowth; I’ll never fathom their depths. My energetic concepts of continuity are useless in a place where old and new worlds converge to create a different time. “The Meso-American had a haunting sense of being ruled by time,” says T.R. Fehrenbach in his book ‘Fire and Blood.’ He continues: “they were engaged in a desperate race against its passage, and came to have a profound feeling that time was circular….they had no concept of linear progress; their calendars measured centuries, endlessly repeated. Some believed in destroying their possessions and starting anew at a cycle’s end. History shows that in areas of irregular weather, natural forces made men more concerned with invisible forces than with the reality they perceived on earth…they had to venerate fire, water, the sun, and fertility…”

The sun sank toward evening wreathed in red-orange clouds. With a lost sigh for the past and an agitated breath for the present, I turn towards home where I had left my roots, no longer so thoughtful of the enigma that had presented itself in that place and more willing than ever to live in the moment.