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April 21, 2013 / la otra Mexicana

Patzcuaro on the B Train

Last week, waiting for the B train at the 81st Street downtown platform, a forty-ish woman, elegant and well groomed, came up to me, and pointed to  the blouse I was wearing, a heavily embroidered Guatemalan huipil, full of flowers and parrots and joy.
‘Is that old?’ she said
‘Yes” I smiled, ‘It’s from Guatemala.’
‘And this!’  she said,  pointing to the black wool cape I wore over the huipil.
‘You have beautiful clothes!’
‘It  is from Mexico!’ and then as the train came,we were lost to each other.
And I was taken back ten  years to a stand on the cobblestoned plaza outside Nuestra Senora de la Salud, where my friend Joanne and I each bought a wool cape to ward off the evening cold and damp coming up from Lake Patzcuaro -Patzcuaro, Purhepecha name for place of the fish I was told once, there are other translations. ‘Cuaro’ definitely means place. It is one of my favorite places on earth. It was the capital of the Purepecha  kingdom before the Spaniards  and although it is noble, it bears no other trace today of royalty.The lake in the forests in the mountains. The enormous old houses with three foot thick adobe walls, the red tiled roofs, the warmth of wood columns in the interior patios, patios filled with orange trees and lush semi-tropical plants. The evening brings cool mist from the lake which lingers till morning.
The statue of Don Vasco de Quiroga, Tata Vasco, leans over the town in blessing, still trying to undo the evil brought by Nuno de Guzman, evil even by 16th century Spanish standards.  Tata Vasco healed with art and music and weaving. Patzcuaro is named one of Mexico’s magical places. Perhaps it is also like one of the Celtic thin places, where the bounadaries to another world are open, where the spirits from the past seem to walk easily’ bringing with them a sense of peace and tranquility.

One Comment

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  1. Eustace Greaves Jr / Apr 25 2013 12:21 pm

    Another fascinating post! I’m glad to see you’re putting fingers to keyboard more often. When you do, we all benefit from your wonderful writing.

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