The night, the stars, the cool air, my Mexican girlfriends prattling off 60 words a minute and walking a pace as fast if not faster than 60 steps a minute. I love the Dads coming down the arroyo carrying their babies in their arms, I love the abuelitas, on bent knees, leaning on their canes, scarves woven tightly around their heads. I love the madrugada dawn as we break through it and onto the narrow path that leads to the church, the sound of the deer dancers bells jingling in front of the church, the buen dias from all the people I know inside the church.
The smell of elote and tamales simmering in huge pots, churros, turning and twisting, barely skimming the hot surfaces of oil, champurada, hot and thick, carne asada on the asador at 6am. It's a unique experience.
|Along the highway at 4 in the morning.|
|The walkway into the town of La Aduana, the church lit in the background.|
|Inside the church|
|The cactus growing in the church wall.|
My Mexican girlfriend did not come to the house. I was worried about her so I went to her house, where she was suffering on Day 15 from denque fever. After spending some time with her and making certain she would survive, I went home................Plan A........... my walks to La Aduana are over. I had enjoyed them all. I will not have a sleepless night and then get up in the dark and be on the highway at 4:30am.
An American friend emailed me..............was I walking to La Aduana and if so, could she go with me................Plan B...............I will have a sleepless night and then get up in the dark and be on the highway at 4:00am because I am walking with my American friend who will walk slower than my other friends.
My friend takes small, but swift steps. She is as fast as the other girls. I remind her that I am older than she is and we are going to slow down.......NOW.................she says fine, no problem, you set the pace and I go..............SLOW. With the other girls we go 6 miles in one hour and 20 minutes and it takes me 4 days to recover.
I am a little apprehensive when we get to the arroyo. My Mexican friends lead and I just go. I look at the sky, look at the sand, look at the brush and pay no attention whatsoever to where we are.
But it all looks different this morning. Now I see there are roads that lead off the arroyo to the left, to the right, to the left again. Which way do we go............. we hang out at a crossroads like we are busy watching the night stars and wait for someone to come along so we can follow them. We do this several times, but decide not to follow 4 young men off to the left and that's good because here comes a family and they go to the right. But before too long the young men come up on the left and I realize there is probably only one way and you really can't get lost after all. But it's really dark and still easy to feel very disoriented.
Finally after my ankles tell me they cannot go anymore and my left knee will not straighten out I see the first lights of La Aduana and just beg my body to last a little longer.
Over 2 hours and we are in.
Some one has forgotten to tell the Deer Dancers that it is time to be there. So there is no Pascola, no deer dancers. No bells, no whistles, no deer or wolf masks, no music, nothing. We go sit in the church. I only see a few people I know. We visit Our Lady of Balvanera in her wooden box at the altar. We go outside where there is a lot of socializing going on. We learn that there was no money for the Pascola. The dancers do not get paid, but there are transportation costs, food costs, accommodations to be paid for. How much can that cost................
We have elote and churros and wait for the Priest and the procession. When it comes, it is a large crowd. They are all slow and sleepy looking. Maybe they are surprised because the deer dancers always lead the procession into the church.
We have a good time.
We have seen the Lady, the candles, the cactus, the food and drink, we have seen our neighbors. We are sad about the Pascola, but happy we made it there.
I have to think for awhile about it all.
Maybe next year I will drive new old car...................................
que le vaya bien............manana.......linda lou