Saturday, July 28, 2007

Visiting Outside, in Chacala

I was walking up the beach road today, along the south end of Chacala beach, when a friend, an adult woman, called out to me. She and her Mom was sitting in her Mom’s shady garden. They offered me a piece of the sandia they were eating. The sandia, watermelon, was delicious. Most of the time the fruit here is so good and sweet. Freshly picked. We sat and visited and spit seeds onto the ground. And eventually threw the rinds out into the field across the dirt road. Where the chickens picked away at them.

I love how so much of daily life takes places outside in Chacala. In most of rural and small town Mexico, I think. People usually sit and visit outside. I think it’s sort of unusual to be invited inside peoples homes, or sleeping spaces. Parties are almost always at restaurants. Or out in front of the house.

I have been in lots of houses in Chacala. But often it’s so people can show me their family photos. Often I am taking photos of people to add to their collection, and they want to show me their other pictures. Some are so amazing. Life in rural Mexico has changed so much in such a short time.

Yesterday, when I was eating sandia with my friends, the Mom was telling us about her life as a child. She is 76, so she was born in about 1940. A few years older than me. She went to school for four years. Schools were open for about 4 or 5 months a year, for the morning. Usually classes met outside. She said her Dad wanted her to work, not go to school. She said she can read and write a little. Not much. This is a very intelligent woman who keeps an immaculate house and yard. And manages her beach camping area with showers and banos.

She said when her last child was very small he got pneumonia. This must of been in about 1970. There was no road then to Las Varas, and they walked the path to town, carrying the baby. I think it was in the night. The baby died on the way. In her arms. The three of us just sat there after she told the story, in silence, with tears in our eyes.

My friend has cages of colorful little birds around the garden. And doves, Palomas. They were all singing and cooing, and the breeze was cooling us off. It was one of those moments. I have teary-eyed as I write this.

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