Scenes From a Oaxaca Homecoming

After three months of being away, the dogs — Tia and Butch — still recognize me. The campo is green from rain. A carpet of cempasuchitl — Mexican marigold flowers — have taken over in preparation for Dia de los Muertos.

A wide-angle view just before sunset

Yesterday, my first late afternoon here, I took a walk on a familiar path. Ruts and loose stones were clues that there was a reason for green. The sun was still strong, though it was closer to sunset. It felt good to settle back into life here in this way — into the essence of the landscape.

A plow bull grazing in the field beyond my casita

My friends, on whose land I live, invited me for a homecoming dinner of barbecue chicken and mezcal. I contributed the steamed brown rice. The dogs hovered near the doorway to their house. We caught up. My dormant Spanish resuscitated.

Tia Margarita, my adopted campo dog, follows close behind
Butch, my adopted campo dog, surveying the horizon

Today, the Teotitlan del Valle market calls. My cupboards are bare. On the advice of my new UNC Chapel Hill gastroenterologist and after more than a year of symptoms, I’ve started the low FODMAP diet (my diagnosis is small intestine bacterial overgrowth). It requires a different kind of shopping, easy to achieve here with organic foods and native corn.

The Tuesday market brings a petate weaver to town

At this moment, at about the same time as yesterday’s walk, it drizzles. The Temps drop ten degrees. Lemongrass leaves rustle in their clay pots. Sweet Lady Rain. The only sounds I hear are the tap-tap of rain on the baked tile roof, the hum of the refrigerator, the distant crow of a rooster.

These went into my chicken and potato stew.

It’s easy to sleep here. It’s easy to be here.

Tomorrow Shuko arrives and we will descend onto the villages in search of pottery and textiles, into markets and shops, to visit artisans and makers of culture and craft.

For now, I listen to what is soothing and feel the freshness through the open window.

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