For the past two days I have been preparing for the trip back to the U.S. Taking it slow. Doing laundry. Meandering the village. Saying goodbye to friends. I forget that even under an overcast sky clothes will dry on the rooftop line in several hours. It’s easy to gather them up before the afternoon rain burst. The sheets, towels, and clothes are washed, folded and stored for the next visit. There is satisfaction in this ritual of doing laundry. Another sign of endings and beginnings.
Last evening, before dusk, Tom, Lori, Chris and I took a walk along the path to the dam in the foothills above the village. There is serenity and a deep sense of wonder, mystery and history in this place.
As plows begin to clear wider roads and the cow paths become vehicle lanes to bring vegetables and fruit down from the mountain, pottery shards of the antecedents are unearthed. We examine the pieces in the last moments of daylight connecting to the traditions of the people on whose land we walk.
As we re-enter the village, the sounds of the feria (traveling carnival or fair) replace the quiet of the countryside. The annual celebration of the Dance of the Feather continues in the church courtyard. Regional buses filled with people from villages throughout the Tlacolula valley cycle back and forth. The streets are jammed with cars.
I continue to walk back to where I am staying. I walk alone now. Safe, content, down the cobbled side street, to the end of the lane, down the alley to the iron gate. Alone and safe.