While sitting in a magical place called Cuetzalan, Puebla Mexico, I felt transported to some mythical landscape that appeared and disappeared as the fog played with the scene.
From where I was the towns main church with its high tower could be seen in the midst of a town where time appears to stand still.
There are some places on earth where there seems to be a window to all ages and where people from several epochs live together.
The very narrow, rock layered, twisted streets, with Spanish balconies and one person sidewalks, present a stage where Indians from the past, westerns like people from the current Mexico and foreigners from far away share the colors, aromas, and exuberant vegetation, minding their own businesses and posing multiple questions to the onlooker.
That same morning I had been watching the news. The world was facing again the increasing warfare in the Middle East. People from all over the world were reacting to the news while pondering when is it that there will be peace, there and in many other troubled spots.
The other news were equally disturbing, people losing jobs, merchants not having clients and a lot of individuals feeling that the new year was arriving with an increased personal load of worries.
During the conversation we had coffee from the region, tortillas, hot cakes and bread, once more three cultures mixed as part of a daily routine. We were excited about visiting the local pyramids and ruins, a recollection of higher civilizations that left their footprint for us to see. We recalled the wisdom of the Mayas, Aztecs, and also of the Egyptians, Celts and Incas in other part of the world. And while the TV continued to tell about the bombs and the dead, we marveled at how people from other times had left us a legacy of knowledge and other ways of attaining happiness.
Several times during the conversation we would look out to see the church tower appear and disappear as the fog became more evident or was pushed away by the sun.
We started to ponder, which one was reality? Was it the fog that would not let us see the scenery? Was it the partial visibility that would randomly appear? Or maybe it was the church that was always there but many times we could not see?
How many times in life have do we have the certainty that there is a reality that is almost timeless that we cannot or do not perceive?
Which one was reality? The Mexican Indians still wear their native attire, visit their traditional doctors and barefooted walk the Spanish looking streets. They sell herbs, and fruits and embroidered goods. There also was the typical Mexican who is midway between his culture and the imported one from US which offers coke and hotcakes. He watches TV, worries about the future and is in need of employment since the land no longer offers him anything of value. He loves and takes pride in the past of his native land and at the same times dreams about the cars, Internet, fancy clothes and foreign fake food.
And we also have the outsiders. Those who come escaping from that other reality of war, violence and death, seeking solace in the ruins and traditions of wiser people, yet unable to go back into the past.
How many millions of people are badly influenced by the images of a political situation that persists and is enforced by politicians, arms merchants and war businesses that force the world to see the ugly side of humankind.
I am very glad for the opportunity offered by this trip to Mexico to refresh my mind and remember that there is more goodness and genuine people in the world that the TV cares to reveal since that would affect their ratings.
Let us welcome 2009 with new eyes to see and value what we have.