Monday, April 26, 2010

And the band played on...

....rather Titanic-like, I thought! Nearly the entire village was gathered in a festooned yard celebrating the third Quincenera (a cute touch) of an esteemed matron. The band´s music was amplified to "ear-splitting" and everyone was in very high spirits even rather risque at times. In the brief pause between songs, however, with no warning whatsoever --an EARTHQUAKE shook the ground, the people, the tables -- and the air was filled with a terrific grinding noise. Following that, a moment of utter silence. But then! Moments later, the band cranked right back up with the next song! As they did so, everyone cheered! and they set to dancing all the more! Yes! ..and the band played on.

Three days later at the Quicenera of a truly 15'year'old, I casually asked a dear friend of ours, a fisherman, how the fishing was. There aren´t any fish anymore he said, looking me directly in the eye. The earth is dying, he added. Scientists are saying we will have to move to the moon or to Mars. Pollution is destroying everything, he said. ....and the band played on.

Then there´s a local loner in the village who frequently cranks up his very own amplifier and microphone and treats EVERYone to his, um, his style of singing. He cannot carry a tune, but he is loud. His words are unintelligible to the rest of the village... but this one'man band plays on.

And one night very recently, the deep peace of 2am was destroyed by the loud screeching of our favorite chicken. She had chosen a cardboard box in our yard to lay 13 eggs -- 12 hatched. We were actively working on fortifying her lair to protect her brood from predators, but there was a weak spot still, and thus, the loud screeching. Robert leaped (successfully!!!) out from under our mosquito netting, outsize flashlight in hand --leaped off the porch, through the flower garden and was there in seconds.

The hen was screeching away at a far distance, and in the lair were feathers and tiny bodies -- and a tlacuache heading viciously straight for Robert´s ankle. WHACK! Robert got it on the head and pushed the head hard onto the ground... it wobbled and then ran into the jungle. "They´re all dead," he said. By then I was right there already and we stood helplessly and so sad, grieving really, and watching as the hen raced around the yard screeching.....

But then we learned something! HA! HEY! She was calling for her chicks! And they came! Each from a completely different direction, half of her brood reassembled, leaping over small sticks, wings extended --and then they settled under her protective wing. So! Six lived. Six is good. We covered them all with a large overturned flowerpot for safety -- and with the morning´s sunrise, we were delighted to discover a SEVENTH chick waiting outside the flowerpot. Before sunset, there came an EIGHTH chick. ...and the band played on.

Days later, as I was teaching myself to play "Fur Elise" and "Jesu, Joy of Man´s Desiring" on my guitar, a new kid (to us -- a village kid, clearly, but we had never met him before) came by. "I speak English," he said. And he does. Raised in Beaverton, Oregon -- but with deep village roots so that Spanish was still his first language and he has a slight accent in his flawless English... He and family have moved back home for good, he said. He spent the sweetest day with us alternating between learning to play "Fur Elise" with me, and watching how Robert makes wooden archery bows from a tree trunk. The band plays on.....

Oh, and periodically, there have been really great waves both for surfers and boogiers. Full moon´s a-risin´and that means BEEG waves a-comin´! Y├íll come on down. The band is playing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

¡Donde Quieras! Cuando Quieras! y Como Quieras!

(Firstly, before I relate the encounter on the road: we are back in that sweet heaven'realm of village life, with the lilting laughter and play of children like sugar sprinkled on top. Did I say ¨"on top"? The children surround us -- fill our hearts!-- with their absorbed play, spilling off of our porch and filling our ramada, and tossing a frisbee in the yard. Neighbors wave, invite us in, stop for conversations. We are once again home. Even got the house all cleaned up from 4 months of absence. Oh! And we were treated to huge waves at the beach, which, as we all know is like immersing into a heaven'realm of light, and breezes, sounds, and.... ah the sea, theseathesea. But below is a silly true cuento which shows the sense of humor of our closest village friends...)

¡DONDE QUIERAS! ¡CUANDO QUIERAS! ¡Y COMO QUIERAS!
Safe in the tranquility of our little casita porch, with our closest family friends, I was relating the story of an encounter on the road--one where I did NOT succeed in staying calm and present in the face of danger. Briefly:

At a gas station halfway down in Mexico (Robert was in the restroom), a man pulled his camper/truck thru the gas station, so CLOSE to our car that he was scraping off the paint along my side of the car. I banged and yelled on his camper moments before he broke off the mirror on my side.

He responded with profanities directed at my womanhood, of course. To which I responded by calling to the gas station attendant for help, mentioning both the damage to our car and his profanities. The attendant successfully got him to somehow back up and simultaneously move slightly farther away... but still close enough, alas, to bring his window right up to mine. With real hatred in his eyes, he directed another profanity specific to my womanhood. I responded with profanity right back, alas (but in English).......and it really riled me up and I regretted it.

In telling this story to our friends, safe on our porch in our Little Salty Place, I related how I wish I had responded instead. I did so by first telling another cuento: a mutual gringo friend of ours was walking by a lake with a long-haired boyfriend in redneck Texas country when one of a group of rednecks hurled a stone directly into the back of her boyfriend... Her response was to turn and meet their eyes, and say, ¨Hey, man, Jesus loves you.¨ And all three men dropped their stones, and let them pass... I do wish I had said that instead...

To which the laughter'loving wife, on our porch, replied (in Spanish): "Ha! You should have looked him straight in the eyes and said, "¡When you want it! ¡Where you want it! ¡How you want it!" (This, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a well-known challenge'phrase in Mexico.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

La La Lula Lullabye














Oh, every night when the sun goes down,

People lay their burdens down, and sing...

La la, Lula... La la, Lula... Lullabye

I've never known a better way

To say goodnight to the day, than sing...

La la, Lula... La la, Lula... Lullabye

(Composed for our sweet Amy/David's daughter, Lula Sophia Zelina, born 03/31/10. There will no doubt be more verses as they occur to me. La-la means "Sleep..." in Swahili, but I didn't know that as the song came to me. I do have a digital/e-mailable recording of my singing it, if you're interested. I failed in my attempt to attach it here.)

And since her full name is Lula Sophia Zelina, I composed a song for Sophia as well:

Sleep, sweet Sophia...

Silently slip into slumber as I sing this song...

Sleep, sweet Sophia...

Swing with the stars as they circle the sky...

Sing along...


AND! How could I not borrow the tune of "Coventry Carol" - - thus:

La-la, Lula, thou little tiny child...

By, by, Lula, lullay.

Now close your eyes, until sunrise...

By, by, Lula, lullay.