Happy Thanksgiving From Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico

I woke up early with the wind at my back, ready to get a jump on the Day of Giving Thanks. In Mexico we call it Dia de Accion de Gracias. It is a good day to take a walk and think about all the goodness of life.

An early walk in the campo, Thanksgiving morning

It was close to eight o’clock this morning when I set out to the campo, the wild, unpopulated area of the village, beyond the pale of settlement. The sun was warm on my back. There was a breeze. The day was promising.

The first boundary marker, a stelae from another century

My three dogs were with me, Butch close to my heels, always guarding. Mamacita out in front. Tia running off after birds and rabbits, stopping from time to time to turn around and check my progress.  These are campo dogs, rescue dogs, dogs who have learned to be obedient and stay close.

Butch (foreground), Mama (right) and Tia along the path

This was a day of exploration. I went far beyond where I usually go along the narrow foot path ascending toward the mountain range that is a backdrop to Teotitlan del Valle, part of the Sierra Madre del Sur.  I imagine this to be an ancient trail, the border between our village and the two adjoining us — San Mateo Macuilxochitl and Santiago Ixtaltepec, that the locals call Santiguito.

From the third marker, views toward Tlacochuhuaya

As I made my way along the incline, I was careful not to stumble on loose lava and sedimentary gravel. Rock outcroppings offered natural stepping-stones.

Moonscape-style cactus off the beaten path. Baby Biznaga?

There are three border markers along this route. I had never been to the third. It was glorious out. I figured, Why not?  Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, I reminded myself once again. Let’s figure out where this goes.

A bouquet of lantana by the roadside, growing wild here.

As we reached the third, I could see there was no path up to it, so I made my own switch back path to scale the hill. The dogs followed. A ridge of rock offered me a natural seat from which I could see across the valley to San Jeronimo Tlacochuhuaya, beyond Santiguito. A perfect spot to meditate.

I imagined those who came before me, centuries past, who sat in this very place, keeping a lookout on the landscape below. In the distance, cooking fires curled skyward and a red-shirted farmer grazed his bull in the lush fields.

Downhill was easy, with a stop at the natural spring for quenching thirsty dogs. Then, a brisk walk home on the back road lined with dried corn stalks and wild marigold fields lining the road.

I covered three-and-a-half miles.

On the final stretch home, between marigolds and cornstalks

Today, a group of Estadounidenses will gather at Los Danzantes for a special Thanksgiving meal after a mezcal toast at the home of my friend Shannon. An adjoining table is with NC restauranteurs who are opening a Oaxaca destination at the Durham Food Court, two blocks from my apartment.

Thanksgiving menu at Los Danzantes, not traditional!

Today will be a change-up from years past. I won’t be cooking. Neither will Kalisa! (I hope.) Instead of sliced, roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, Jacki’s fabulous cranberry sauce, and an array of pumpkin pies, it will be turkey balls and pumpkin pancake at 7 p.m. Nothing traditional about this year for me!

Nature’s display of color, pure and simple

I’m reminded by my friend Betsy, an Anthony Bourdain afficionado, who said, Travel is the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown.  And, my friend, Madelyn, who says, Take life with the wind at your back, moving forward, rather than fighting the headwinds that always set you back.

Happy Day for Giving Thanks.

A field of yellow next to the casita

The gift of the season, 75 degrees Fahrenheit





24 responses to “Happy Thanksgiving From Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico

  1. Beautiful reminiscences! I love the wild lantana. In Mexico they call it Reunion de las Mujeres, an apt name! Hope to see you at Linda’s opening! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  2. Susan Darling, Tucson, Arizona

    What an absolutely glorious way to spend the day – thank you so much for sharing! Love the wild marigold!

  3. Thank you Norma for this post, and all your others.

  4. Hi Norma,
    Lovely article! Hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll be in Oaxaca for a few days in January and then on to Puerto Escondido for the Expo Venta. Hope to see you there.

    Nancy and Byron

  5. And all the best to you!
    Margie and bob

  6. Hi Norma,
    I am always so touched by your posts… your sensitivity to the people and places around you, and those who came before. All best wishes – what a wonderful way to start your Dia de Accion de Gracias.

  7. Beautiful! ❤️
    18 degrees F here in Connecticut this morning.

  8. What a beautiful day for you and the dogs.
    They are so loyal in looking out for you. Great scenery. Will miss your tours this year and will spend most of Feb. in Oaxaca city.
    A thanksgiving day is wished for you Norma.

  9. Sounds like a great day Norma! Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Hola Norma: Happy Day from an ex-ex-gringa owner in SMA since 2007, now back permanently in NYC.

    I’m enjoying a peaceful, thankful celebration with an amiga I met in SMA here in Highlands, NC, for a traditional but different type of Thanksgiving in the many years of celebrating my favorite holiday.

    Always appreciate your posts, now nostalgically since I’ve visited your area many times in many years.


  11. Beautiful, Norma. And always inspiring. I’m booking tonight to meet Denise and Sharon in Puerto Escondido January 9, and will be there for Expoventa, then on to Oaxaca on 22nd.

  12. Lovely. Thanks for sharing your day!

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