Monday, March 28, 2011

Mental Photograph

Steve approached my last week and informed me, "We're invited to this event but...I don't know."

He explained it was the opening of a village pavilion, and that he had been invited to play music there for its inauguration.

How could I not go to this event? It sounded like something out of "Consider This Senora" or "Tales of Eva Luna." Surely a wizened old woman with streaming hair would greet us there and proceed to speak only in proverbs. There would be children playing, and lots of food, and just a tinge of melancholy because it would be too beautiful.

So we went up up and around winding dirt roads, to the hills of San Pablo Etla. The pavilion was a small hut without walls, perched on a cliff side. It turned out a group of college kids in architecture school had come for the week, met with the community, and designed and built the pavilion in collaboration with the villagers. In gratitude, the villagers had cooked everyone a feast, accompanied by bottle after unlabeled bottle of smoky mezcal.

And here's what I liked the most. Bill, the washtub bass player for the day, had gone to the village all week, teaching villagers how to play the bass. So, when the fiesta day came, Bill brought an extra washtub bass and locals took turns accompanying the band. Then, the villagers took over, playing ranchero music while Geni and I did the cumbia and merengue. Thank you, Zumba class.

I could wax on about the band cramming into the outdoor pavilion for a blues jam as the kids and college guys played soccer. How one of the guys was proud of navigating the city market and coming out with a pinata for the party. How a couple shyly asked me what was in the horchata and their eyes got wider as I listed every ingredient. How Max and one of the students got immersed in discussing the merits of a fantasy book series. How Geni and I befriended Maria and asked her about cooking on the Estufa Lorena, the same mud stove we had used at the permaculture farm.

There are times where I feel in the midst of something as opposed to on the fringe. These are rare times, for sure. I was intent on taking a mental photograph of the day so I could carry proof of life's beauty along with me always.