At any minute of any day since I moved in to this sweet home in the hills just outside of San Miguel de Allande, Mexico, I can look up and out across the landscape and the awesome, expansive beauty of this country captures my breath and draws me inward to seriously ponder the possibility of a personal belief in the divine. Maybe the natural beauty is a big reason why Mexico has a reputation for religious enthusiasm. It was clear within the first day of living here that my personal leanings toward agnosticism or atheism would be regularly called into question. It feels a little more righteous to be a doubtful atheist than a doubtful believer even though they are essentially the same thing so I’ll stick to my simple appreciation of this awe and not waste time splitting hairs about what it means.
Enough with the serious stuff. Huh! I’m living in Mexico! On the OTHER side of the proposed WALL (which is exactly where I want to be if construction starts). And despite the horrifying happenings going on in the land of my birth (or maybe hi-lighted in contrast to) my days of late are overflowing with appreciation and gratitude. I came here from a lengthy stint working as a life coach at a wellness center in Thailand with quick stops to visit friends in Los Angeles and Phoenix on the way. I was here in Mexico by my 47th birthday and that felt great.
I tell everyone that I chose Mexico because I was craving color and music and passion and creativity, but really I just wanted to come and have a look-see for myself at all the rapists and murderers. I’ve always been a person who gravitates toward bad hombres so, you know, Mexico. So far my research shows there aren't any rapists but I did meet a guy named Fernando helped me murder a wasp that had illegally crossed the border of my front door. He noticed I was messing with a broom and screaming a little so likely interpreted that as an invitation to wander by my door, eventually taking charge and ridding me of this dangerous monster. He even took away the body and gave me an impromptu Spanish lesson to boot. A lesson that ended in his emphatically suggesting that I hire a Spanish teacher. How do you say “Please, for the love of god, get yourself a Spanish teacher” in Spanish? So, as you can see, that’s working out for me.
But I first met Fernando the day before the wasp incident. I learned that he was hired to take care of the property here by the Canadian couple who owns it. Legend has it that from the day they bought the land they would find him at the gate each morning asking if he could be of service until one day they finally hired him. I hear his wife makes amazing tortillas from scratch with a grinder that is passed around the community to work the yellow or blue corn. Each family gets to grind corn for a day before passing it on to the next house. She gets Wednesday. Community. Awesome.
Anyway, Fernando. This is an eco-friendly place with a adobe casas, bee hives, water collection systems and solar power, very intentional, so naturally, we have a compost heap. After a few days of cooking I had filled the black ceramic compost jar full of vegetable scraps and it was time to find the compost heap to empty it. I wandered out beyond my neighbor's casa, jar cradled in my arms, with a lost but determined look on my face, an expression I mastered over the past year being a traveler and a stranger in strange lands. From visiting places whereI did not know the language or the culture. An expression that tries to say “please forgive me” and “I know where I’m going” (when I really don’t) at the same time. This particular morning Fernando and a colleague were nearby working on building the wall. Well, not THE WALL, but a fine looking wall nonetheless. The compost jar in my hand and “that" look on my face clued him in to what I was trying to find and started shouting directions to me in Spanish, which I don’t know. I would keep walking when his voice sounded enthusiastic and try to turn when his voice sounded discouraging. From afar I’m sure it looked like a wonky game of dry land marco polo, but bingo! Found the compost heap!
Secretly I wasn’t as much interested in the compost heap as I was in getting closer to the horse that was eating grass outside my sunroom window. Yeah, there was a HORSE outside my window when I woke up and I was all like “Hi horse” and again blown away by the surprises of nature at this heavenly place. I desperately wanted to get closer to this animal that was hanging out in my new hood. I walked up to Fernando to thank him for his help and wanted to ask: "¿que tiene caballos es esto?” but I think I just said “caballo, es tuyo? and pointed to the horse. And he gestured that, yes, it was his horse. I had some cut up apple wrapped in a rag and asked "Manzana?" and pointed to the horse. I was hoping to feed the animal but Fernando shook his head and gestured that his horse might bite. Then he asked me if I ride horses (at least I think that's what he was asking) to which I sadly replied no…
Turns out that this horse comes with Fernando almost every day and eats the grass on the property, doesn’t do much else. I asked Lorna, my neighbor about it. She’s the one that told me about his wife’s Tortillas and she shared with me that Fernando is attached to this horse because it is the only gift his father ever gave him. It is meaningful in a way that goes deeper than one would think at first glance. Gave me a peek into the heart of this wall building, compost finder navigating, wasp murdering hombre, este buen hombre.