Sunday, June 19, 2011


We were living in New York then, where we sat at desks and used our minds, where we read books by philosophers and listened to lectures on Jazz or a recent expedition to the North Pole. We forgot, in that year just out of college, to step outside of our heads. Other than some peeled garlic, and a laptop lifted from here to there, our arms were limp, our hands sans callous. When the city and its indulgences made themselves manifest one day--our Puerto Rican neighbors were barbecuing sausages, interrupting each others' high-pitched chatter, frantically passing food from one end of the rug upon which they sat, to another--it struck us that we needed to escape. We yearned for the wood smoke in our hair, the music in our ears, to sit on the ground, to wear bright colors without care.

And so we did. In our signature literary style: we escaped to Mexico.

We sat by the water and ate tortillas, we chatted with the juice man who made us drink in plastic bags, we cut up tomatoes and avocados and let their raasa spill down our arms, or rest on our chins. We didn't read, we didn't theorize, we didn't get in a train or a car, or anything that would remind us of that place in our heads. We walked. We touched. We breathed.

National Park of Benito Juarez
And that is how we reached the National Park of Benito Juarez. We were told that there is a town on the other end of the forest, called Teotitlan del Valle, and in it, lived a community of weavers who made beautiful textiles from their natural environment. It was like a fairy tale, we talked through light and shadow, stopping occasionally to eat raw green tomatoes, avocados and fresh juice. We walked for miles, with not a soul in sight. When the sun went down, we found a natural room: a bed of pine needles cushioned the soil below, a branch protruded on one end, making for a comfortable bench and large leaves stacked together became a plate, on which we peeled berries that we had picked on our walk over, and washed into a salad of mint leaves, picked from a nearby outgrowth. The forest was with us. At night, the moon came out and we did not need our headlamps, in the morning, the sun bent behind our backs as we arose to complete our sojourn to this mystical little town of weavers.

Because it was a journey of love, a physical walk, an experience, with the imagined town at the end of it, Teotitlan has held, even years later, a special emotion. What's more, we had only a mile or so left to enter the town, so we sat by a reservoir (attach map), under a tree, to let the sun go down. A small truck stopped, and the driver hollers, 'Hola amigo! Como estas? Necesita un paseo? (Need a ride?)'. We insist we don't, and he is shocked to hear we have walked through the forest into his city. He jumps out and hands us a bottle of water. Then he insists we get in the back of his truck and he will ride us into the town, and show us his mother's textile studio. We end up in a whirl of color and fibre, laughing and chattering, drinking juice and more juice, our own story in Teotitlan making its first knots, in order to be spun with the wheel of yarn. 

To be continued.......................

Text: Wooly eyes
Image courtesy: Google images

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