A silly fantasy I've entertained over the years came to fruition on Christmas morn.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
A silly fantasy I've entertained over the years came to fruition on Christmas morn.
Friday, November 27, 2009
with an anti-scorpion bite treatment we keep handy in our home, he
followed their advice. For those first few hours especially, stay warm
and quiet. That means: no ocean breezes, no swimming,
no hammocks. Lie down, don't go to sleep.
Odd thing, neurotoxins. Besides numbing the area around the bite,
a typical experience (Robert, too) is that your tongue and lips feel
as though there are ants crawling over them, and the roots of your
teeth ache somewhat. Later on, the villagers say, your hands may
feel numb, too.
None of this was debilitating, of course. Robert kept quiet and
warm, and I read to him while he rested. I suspect that when I
return, this will have run its course.
And are we now daunted? Are we more fearful about living here?
Are you kidding? No way! We have had rattlesnakes by our
creekside chairs in our own Durango backyard, and bears
and mountain lions sometimes prowl our property. Are we
now afraid to live there anymore? You get the idea.
village neighbors, the inviting radiance of the sea, the ever
more homey beauty we are co-creating out of our humble
casita and land). Same as you are, wherever you live.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
So: There are birds that appear to be either one of them, here in our digs (I cannot judge their size). But they ACT like irate Jaybirds, for starters. Fellow villagers laugh at their audacity as well... When strolling the winding footpath into our backyard jungle, two of these birds took great umbrage at my presence, flying from perch to perch in the thick growth directly above me at every turn, squawking loudly. They actually leaned down towards me screaming their invectives when I paused to look up at them..
What makes them especially, um, endearing is that they also have a crest! It rises up above their heads when they are thus agitated, and they shake it at me as they yell at me. No such crest is mentioned in my bird book at home.
Nor is the bird itself, crest or non'crest, mentioned in our book of Mexican birds. Not pictured, not spoken of.
Anyone have a clue, or experience with, this character?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
None of this affects our magical, calm daily life in the village and at the beach, and among our friends both local and from abroad.
Our mornings begin with butterflies, hummingbirds. Over coffee, we watch the hummingbirds war over the sweet blossoms of the male papaya tree. This morning there were three, and the sound they make is exactly the sound that the warring spaceships use in the Starwars movies. I bet that is where the MOVIE sound did come from. These guys zoom all over the sky above our yard.
At any time during the day, our porch may suddenly fill with the laughter and creativity of village kids... Their new passion is crayon'painting the xeroxed mandalas and wild animals which I provide. Many shaped building blocks, train tracks etc are also very popular.
At other times, loved neighbors drop by, often for breakfast. Our American style oatmeal with raisins and figs, plus coffee, is very popular. In return, we are invited to fresh'caught fish (tuna this morning), salad fixings, and hot made-on-the-spot blue corn tortillas. What we love to do is laugh together.
Too, Robert and I often hop on our bikes and zip down the dirt road, through the coco groves and all, to look at the waves on the beach (from our side of the river, which is only, um, ankle deep this time). We can forget to leave, too. SO beautiful and peaceful.
Yesterday, we saw a cock fight but not with chickens. It was seabirds, right there on the edge of the sea! And after all their posturing, and wing spreading and prancing, they took the battle to the air and duked it out up there! The winner, by mutual agreement, got to have the stony low'tide area rife with little fishies. The loser did not fare all that badly either. He just had to move to down to the river mouth a ways.
Oh, Robert just walked in. End of town trip.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Update on drugs: the word on the street is more cinematic than the word in the English language newspaper published in Mexico City. Makes a better movie.
Update on the waves: Robert is having a great time and even tried out his vintage 1960 vintage Jacobs 9.0 board out there. Guess who f*ed with him, stealing his waves with a sly grin.
Update on boogieboarders: I am still swimming laps.
Gotta run! Next week I fly to San Francisco for a week.. combination Thanksgiving and Family Reunion and Celebration of our Parents' 100th birthdays (Note: they have passed on, however, thus it is their fine and loved memory that we celebrate.
Then I fly back here to pack up, and drive with Robert to see the wonderful Monarch butterflies in their winter digs... again. Scroll down and view a sampling of our photos. Wish I could post the videos.
Gone... with the wind......
Monday, November 9, 2009
(But first: there are very fine waves for surfers, just not huge. You can "wear yourself out" as one guy said. Nothing for boogiers since the very first day, however. So, I swim laps.....
and Second: just after I wrote the previous entry, I saw folks with their wheelbarrows back in action AND my first burro sighting in our village.... he was from the neighboring village, however. All is not changed forever.)
1. iPOD: BROOKS & DUNN ("video")
Shoulda seen us! The village was dark and quiet the other night, but our porch was bopping. We hooked up the iPod to speakers (only loud enough for us), and just the two of us--we rocked out to the country sounds of whining guitars, close harmonies, and sappy lyrics.
2. MANDALAS ("photo")
After weeks of coloring between the lines on xeroxes of simplified mandalas that I supply, the local village kids took the chalk to the walk (meaning the ramada floor), and turned it into a full-bloom garden of colors. Hated to wash them away it was so beautiful... but they scuff, you know. And that night was Halloween, when all the village kids and a good number of parents crowd in to see the Gringa Bruja who bribes their ugly, hateful selves to leave her alone by giving them.... CHOCOLATE! Pix posted later.
3. ANCIENT MAYAN TEMPLE ("photo")
There is already of photo of this if you scroll to a previous entry-- but now it is so overgrown with large flowering vines that it looks very much like an archeological discovery. Soon to be transformed into a washroom for laundry, dishes, and bodies. Whether or not we put in a toilet is up for debate. Old hippies here. Whassamatta with a hole in the ground? Feeds that toad! Feeds them chickens! Furthermore, it´s beautiful back there in the jungle.... AND this woman right here at this keyboard doesn´t have to scrub and clean that hole out back. Now that there´s the real reason for wondering why bother to build a throne in a box.
4. DRUG DEALS GOIN´DOWN (photo)
A Facebook friend inquired if we´d seen any lately. I answered him there, but here it is again... Our dear friends who live right at the beach DID see (early dawn) a heavily laden and powerful-motored speedboat slide onto the beach just as trucks arrived from the road that ends there... a quick hauling of cargo from boat to truck and zooom. Boats and trucks were gone and all was quiet. Not for long. Shortly after, whether connected or not (you can never know), a man was found hanging from a nearby bridge over the coastal highway. There was quite the swarm of armed soldiers around that site. There are regular roadblocks with armed military as we drive to Zihua and back. And it is quite usual for truckloads of black'dressed, masked, and heavily armed soldiers to patrol our beach. We wave and smile, and some return the courtesy. One guy called a couple of the armed guys over, along with a couple of bikini'clad girls, and set himself in the center. Photo shoot! Big grins on the faces of all.
5. iPOD REDUX (whatever)
So, I´ll end this whimsical entry with another iPod story, kinda like bookends. Robert was in the ramada fixing up surfboards. I was on the porch with crayons and a xeroxed Tibetan mandala, very engrossed in my ouevre. On the iPod was playing "Raising Sand" (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss). Up our little hill, there comes bopping our delightful long'time pal. Omar -- with white wires dangling from his ears. Well, that was no surprise, since we "paid" him for work done with an iPod. What made it fun, is that he bopped over to our iPod, unplugged our sappy sweet music (to Mexican ears for sure, though this longtime folkie loves it) and plugged in HIS iPod. Man, he had on the coolest, most involving, rhythmical, great.... African music!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Walking the winding trail through our jungly backyard, I caught sight of a perfect circle of sunlight with a perfect shadow of a heart centered within. As I walked past, I made note to return quickly with a camera and catch that view. Less than a minute later, there was not a trace of that perfection. The sun had moved on.
2. WHEELBARROWS AND SALESMEN
In 2002, and again in 2004, I made note of how the villagers traveled the winding wild dirt road from the village to the seaside.... They used wheelbarrows. The fishermen carried their gear to their boats in the early dawn, returning many hours later hopefully laden with fish. On Sundays, mothers carried the family feast and whatnot in their wheelbarrows, kids bouncing and racing all around, as they made their way to the sea. Wheels! Only a few still rode horses. Never saw a burro here.
Now, it is all trucks, and 4-wheelers, sometimes a kid driving; even fancy cars from big cities.
This transformation does bring up one delightful morning repetition. The fishermen pile in the back of trucks, and one particular young man always calls to his uncle in the early dawn light... his uncle who lives across our road, and diagonally down the hill from us, out of sight. This uncle likes to sleep in, so as well as roosters, we are treated to a humorous, friendly tirade from this nephew, as the truck putters outside the uncle's house:
"Tio! Oye, TIO! Ay, cabron..... TIO! Andale perro! Vamanos!"
A vanished species. Back in 2004, I swung in a hammock on our porch and made note of all the things you can buy just by hanging out in a hammock on your porch. Apparently, I have lost that list, but here are some of the things: fresh baked breads, water, gas, fresh hot tortillas, ice cream and candies, furniture, hammocks, clothes, embroidered pillowcases and antimacassars, woven floor mats, jewelry, make'up, Jesus of course -- oh the list goes on. The salesmen just walk up the driveway bearing goods.
All that is mostly over now. No one can afford the gas to travel to small villages, and no one here has all that much cash on hand to buy. Gas, water, and tortillas -- and Jesus of course -- still come by. The colorful homespun creations, no more.
I am now settled in enough to rise just at the very first hint of First Light, take my dulcimer and mat to the ramada and face east for the dawning.... while quietly tuning my voice to my favorite raga, going up and down the specific scale til my voice is free, and then start singing songs.... all quietly.
I remember waves...... there used to be a lot of them. Big, too!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The other day it was more than a "sea'breeze" --yeeeha, it was what is called in Spanish, "una tormenta." Great word for a storm. We wandered casually over to the beach as the dark clouds were building and flashing, and the wind was beginning.....
...to watch the waves, and to marvel at the waves. There were waves in every direction as far as the horizon. Huge ones, with long trailing seafoam blown off the tops like the hair of a blonde in a red sportscar. So huge, you could easily see these mammoth fellows rolling along the coastline right out there on the very horizon.
Some were rolling in towards our beach --none of those were in any predictable pattern -- but those huge rollers in the distance were going "sideways" to the beach. They were rolling from east to west, as we stood there facing south. Breath'taking wildness.
And the surfers? Oh, they were out there in spades, like little ants, scrambling around trying to catch a wave. But it was like pinball. There were waves everywhere, but most waves weren´t formed right. You had simply to be lucky, and be at the right place at the right time -- with no clue where that might be -- and with a mighty blustering wind fighting your every stroke.
Meanwhile, back at the casita.... Mind you, our every day IS sweet.
The air is fragrant because October here is like spring --lush and moist, and laced with flowers everywhere. Birds and butterflies flit about. Our house is daily filled with laughter and tricksters, and warm companionship. The latest craze is jigsaw puzzles of varying difficulty, plus creating chalk designs all over the floor of our ramada (which by the way, the kids then broom-wash away without prompting, because even THAT is fun). Much of the time, we are goofing around WITH the kids...
Occasionally, we get out there in our rolling large yard and hack down a few square yards more of the humongous overhead weeds that blanket our yard in the four'month absence. Later(!!) for hauling the tonnage to a central pile for composting. Hot work, heavy work. By the way, our last visit´s compost pile is now rich dark earth. Yes!
Is Mercury going straight YET?????
I ask, because as you all recall, I was kept out of the water from my very first day--for a week --with a stub-removal of a complete toenail. The DAY I was healed up enough to return was the DAY that ROBERT got injured and is now officially "out of the water" til HE heals.
Some dumb gringo surfer kid (which is to say, it was not a deliberate attack by you-know-who) jumped on Robert´s wave, saw him already there, and bailed from his board with a dive.... and in so doing, carelessly kicked his board directly AT Robert, causing a veryvery deep vertical gash on Robert´s shin.
Robert limped home, and we gathered ourselves to go to a clinic in a nearby village where there actually IS a clinic. All the kids that were playing at our house jumped in the car for the ride. Party! Party!
The clinic room was a recently whitewashed broom closet (small, I mean), and the treatment table was my knees. Robert sat on a folding chair and draped his injured leg over my knees and that was where the doctor treated him.. He was CLEARLY very professional, very thorough, very clean, very good.... Three stitches. Five more days and then Robert can cut his own stitches and go back into the waves.
I just learned, a propos of nothing, that a mapache is a Mexican raccoon, and a tlacuache is a Mexican possum -- so it seems from descriptions/behaviors.
Most night around midnight Guillermo (our dear Mayor, and dear friend) goes with his dog Payaso (meaning Clown) and often with Omar and HIS dog -- and they start at opposite ends of Guille´s cornfield out there among the coco trees, and they beat the stalks and yell and the dogs bark and race around and just raise hell. Scaring away the mapache. Two nights ago, Payaso caught and killed one.
Our life here is such a rich mix of ancient village life patterns found throughout the world over multiples of centuries, and the jarring nearby presence of the modern one. The anthropologist in me watches quietly, and the philosopher in me muses.
Enough! Town trip. I have many errands to do.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Sitting quietly in my boat before dawn, awaiting moonset, successive clouds of small black birds rise up from the island, cover the sky in wildly noisy cacophany, and then they are gone, and all is silent.
Surely they are very same birds I watched on another day at sunset. I watched them arrive -- from where? -- with the same uproarious symphony, and settle on that island. Noisy clouds settling in the greenery, and shaking the air for some time.
I like to let the wind blow me backwards. I like to watch the lakeweeds below my boat sway as I glide over. I like to see the waterbirds move with me yet maintain our distance.
And that black waterbird, diving fearlessly so close to my boat -- she glides around a reeded bend, only to peek back at me from time to time. At last, responding to her beckoning, I slowly move my boat. Ah! Proud mama! She is showing me her little one as they fuss with no fear of me, among the reeds.
Dawn’s golden rays flash silver the leaping fish.
Here? Lotus blooming among reeds? Ha! Fine feathers floating amid.
The round moon at sunrise melts like a lemon drop into the great blueness of sky.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
you also have some understanding of their national spiritual epic, "The Ramayana."
The name, "The Ramayana" means "The Way of Ram." But who is Ram?
I would like to end my talk by touching on the most beloved chapter of the entire epic, "The Sundarakand/The Beautiful Story"... and I want to highlight it. It tells of how the humble Monkey, Hanuman, finds Sita and reports back to Ram.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Appearing on our wide-screen TV this day is our molting lizard. He wanders all over our property, entertaining us with his antics.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
FULL MOON and BEEG WAVES
We need to revise our viewpoint -- away from the concept of visiting here according to the solar months..... and focus instead on the lunar phases. The waves for both surfers and especially for boogie-boarders really jack up over the full moon phase. Let us say we are coming for two full moon cycles each spring and each fall.
Lately, as the moon rides high and full, we begin each day with a morning sesh. Then we come back for a sunset sesh (both of us on boogies for this one). We tear up the surf, screaming sideways all along the front of the wave, laughing as we fly...
...all the while bathed in the peach glow of sunset. The red ball that is the sun floats in the peach nectar just above the turquoise sea, but then exactly at the setting of the sun, the sky itself explodes into even more color, perhaps tangerine, drenching the sky directly overhead. Thus, the sea around us that radiance even as the blue and the white of the waves become more pronounced -- all in an intoxicating swirl.
Just last night I turned around and around and around in the swirling post-ride turbulence, taking in the shimmer of pastel light all around..
And then.... then glides the moon into view above the coconut palms, transluscent perfect pearl set in irridescent azure. It is exactly opposite to the peach and tangerine sky, both in location and mood...
Afterwards, in darkness, with just small headlamps, we walk quietly home through a jungly path, across the now lake'like river, to our humble casita amongst the flowers.
WIDESCREEN TVs (two!)
Yup. It has come to that. We leave them on all the time, and watch them both simultaneously every morning for sure... With fresh ground coffee, pastries, and fruited oatmeal, and very often visiting village friends.
One is always tuned to the Male Papaya Channel directly in front of our porch. The other is over by the newly finished ramada (gazebo, to you). It is the Sasanil Channel, which is the shade tree that puts forth purewhite transluscent pearls for fruit.
On the Papaya Channel, we are treated to the antics and passions of one hummingbird in particular (watching him as he dines on the multitude of flowers, stretches, cleans himself, rests, and passionately chases off intruders etc etc etc..... all very upclose and delightful).
With or without binoculars for closeup, we can also turn our attention at any time to the Sasanil Channel and watch a variety of local birds (in particular, a different variety of robin than in Durango, plus great kiskadees, and the kind of oriole we nickname the Mango bird for its coloration). I love how they will select a particular pearl, hold it in their beaks awhile (looking far too large for them to swallow)....and then they DO swallow it. I can imagine the explosion of nectar as they close their beaks over these pearls. I can almost feel the liquid flowing down my throat.
But now it is time to go. This is probably our last town visit as well. First, we must finish yet one more big cement project-- building an overhead cement platform (the posts and other supports are already in place) on which we will place our water tanks. This will become our shower room, and dishwashing and clotheswashing stand. It is located to the back and side of our home. All is in readiness for tomorrow, big work day.
Many more flowering bushes are now in place, many flower seeds are planted and ready to sprout... and packing up should flow easily, too. We have a number of empty boxes ready to receive the items now resting on shelves. Then we have three days drive if we do not take in sightseeing. It is all on our whim now. Jai Sri Ram.
Monday, June 1, 2009
When we first arrived at the Little Salty Place, village life was so reminiscent of living in Iowa in the '50s. Rural, even. Vehicles were rare. Folks traveled with a wheelbarrow laden with picnics down the road to the beach. All felt safe, family, peaceful. Still feels safe, family, peaceful but there are cars, trucks, 4-wheelers.... Cell phones, TVs... can't be helped but I wish I could warn them what is being lost byte by byte...
The Ghost from the Future (that would be me) wanted so much to warn them... I did TRY to stop one friend from taking ALL the lobsters, even those with eggs -- to take only the largest... but he could not hear me. "Hay mucho" he said. His mother laments how few and how small they are these days, and anyway, her freezer is full. Still he brings more.
And there was no way I could ever stop the utter destruction of an entire ecosystem right before my eyes. Money is far too strong a pull. The last vestige of jungle and lagoons that stretched along the shore when first we came here was bulldozed two weeks ago. The last lagoon was filled in. In its place are truckloads and truckloads of dirt, building up a platform for yet more tourist rentals. The villagers comment how beautiful it was before... with all the tropical birds everywhere, and the giant iguanas. All gone.
Despite the Biblical warning not to build your house on sand, Rogelio will build not only on a beachfront, but this last one is right at the river mouth... which will flood violently in the coming monsoon season as it always does. He is building on what was a lagoon, for goodness sake!
And every single earlyearly dawn, Robert and I lie on our mats on the porch amazed by the cacophany of birdsong (think RJ Lurtsma - WGBH)... and then eat our breakfast with birdbooks and binoculars on the table. The spectacular tropical birds are gone but what are left are still beautiful... And right now, one of our large canopied trees is covered in small fruits that look just like transluscent pearls, beloved of ALL our birds... So when two of our favorite kids showed up one evening, pointing at the treetops in our jungly backyard, we thought nothing of it... til we saw the air'powered slingshot and their excited gesture at a "hit"!!
I came out with my very best Spanish (well, all I COULD come up with in my horror) and yelled out, "!Ya! !No mas! Adios! !ADIOS!" They were having fun killing songbirds.
And for those of you, if there actually ARE any of you, following the threads of these entries... Guero is back and in full form, threatening the LIVES of his targets, now. While out in the lineup for the waves ("Voy a matar'te..." or whatever... even though he speaks fluent English he pretends he knows only Spanish). He's working on one person in particular just now -- starting in with hateful insults for others to hear, then he brings his surfboard right up beside his intended victim and sneers a death threat face to face. Bad juju, very very bad juju. We are keeping a very low profile ourselves, under the radar, quiet and unobtrusive, going about our business, keeping as much separation as we can. Robert is out there in the line'up, but stays unobtrusive.
Last little Future Ghost entry... That was ALMOST me! So it seemed at the time, anyway. NOT connected in any way to the swine flu hullabaloo, I apparently ate some unrefrigerated cooked chicken. I was in no pain, but my stomach rumbled all night (Robert says). Early morning, I stumbled off the porch and headed into our jungle path to the hole-in-the-back.. but barely had I entered the jungle when the ground pulled me down. I could NOT stay upright. It was all in slow motion, so I recall realizing I was going down, and the thought passed into my head that perhaps I was actually dying (from the bad food). Very calm, noticing the early morning light on the jungly leaves, thinking this might be my last vision.... I do not recall reaching the ground. I do not know how long I lay there. For the next three days, while still never in pain, I was rarely awake, rarely conscious..... just rolling around a bit, while flattened on my sleeping mat. Then it was over with no repercussions.
Robert just showed up. End of entry. We off to get a licuado or whatever! Town trip, town trip! Love to all, y hasta la vista amigos. BTW, we plan to head north around mid June. How is that for a firm date.