Most of all, I miss the Zapotecs
and how they live close to the earth:
my neighbor’s house with its dirt floor,
the older women in the village who don’t wear shoes,
the road by my house that is dirt and stone,
and every morning sweeping the dirt out of my porch-kitchen. . .
with a hand-made straw broom.
I miss the animals,
the burros, the toros, the turkeys, the goats and the street dogs
who all live practical and busy lives.
I miss the tortillas
fresh off the fire
with salsa and goat cheese.
I miss the children in my English class
who are perfectly serious about our yoga practice
and who so mysteriously cannot sing on pitch
I miss singing out from the mountain side
and playing my penny whistle in the paltry shade of a bush
I miss gossiping in Spanish.
I miss my handy man
who loves to work
and can accomplish anything.
I miss looking out over the valley at sundown
seeing the pink reflection of the village houses
and the white, wedding cake church.
I miss the faces of the villagers
the sound of Zapotec, band music, fiesta and fireworks.
I miss looking far into the distance
at the ring of mountains that encircle our valley
and the night lights of the neighboring villages.
I miss my house
and the plants that struggle to survive
in the arid and ant infiltrated earth.
I miss my pets
who don’t miss me
because they are in love with my house-sitter.
Next time, let me tell you what I don’t miss!!!!
*Annie Burns lives in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, in a single story brick home built on a hillside overlooking the town. She is surrounded by the natural world and wonderful Zapotec neighbors and friends. This year, she is traveling for eight months, first to Ireland and then to South Carolina, before going back to Oaxaca. I asked her what she missed about this village and this was her reply.