I’ve returned to Oaxaca after being gone for almost six weeks. It’s warm here — cotton and linen weather. Much warmer than Mexico City where layers of wool are needed for protection from the chill. They tell me today it will be eighty-eight degrees fahrenheit. The snowbirds are happy.
In Teotitlan del Valle, where the last dance of the three-year commitment for this Dance of the Feathers group was on December 12 for the Virgin of Guadalupe, I stayed home. I needed time to absorb what life will be after our mother’s death, what it means to live fully and in service to others, and to reflect on life and death.
My Zapotec friend Abraham tells me, “Todos vamos por el mismo camino.” We all go on the same road.
My Zapotec friend Lupita says, “Es la ley de la vida.” It’s the law of life.
This is comforting as I look out onto the mountains and vast clear blue sky from the rooftop terrace. As I feel the sun on my back. As the sacred mountain Picacho reaches skyward just beyond my reach.
And, then, I walk the streets of the city where Christmas lights wink and twinkle, big tinsel stars suspended from buildings say to me what matters most is now.
I see things with particular focus: a broken windshield sending a million sparkles through the refraction like shooting stars.
Next is a stop to the Museo Textil de Oaxaca where a small but exquisite rebozo exhibition shows us the talent of artisans around the world, with a focus on Mexico and the extraordinary ikat cloth woven here.
Finally, I meet the two young artists from India who I am mentoring through a joint program between the governments of Mexico and India, helping them win residency grants.
They arrived in early November, just as I was leaving for California. Nidhi works in interpretive textiles, and her husband Ruchin is a muralist, street and graphic artist. I took them to meet Fernando Sandoval in his studio and my day was complete. They will be here until early February. Still lots to see and do.
Fernando and his team were working on color registrations for a new series by Sergio Hernandez called Alice in Wonderland. Oaxaca has a rich graphic arts community and Sergio is at the leading edge.
Soon, my family will arrive and we will celebrate this season together. I just saw them during my mother’s passing. This visit will be different.
I’ve now moved over almost completely to using the smaller, lightweight Olympus OMD 5 Mark II mirrorless digital camera. I think the results are almost equal to my Nikon. While I’m using the Aperture Priority setting and not full manual, I feel that I have pretty good control over light and shutter speed so I can get the photo I want. But, the experiment continues!