Friday, August 26, 2011

Climb Every Mountain?

George and I are living near the base of Pico de Orizaba, the highest mountain in Mexico and third highest in North America, which peaks at 18,491 feet. Now that's a mountain!

Having lived in the glorious Pacific Northwest we are accustomed to the comfort of a mountain's glory. By that I mean that "it is there." A mountain is dependable. You walk outside and it is there. It is big, and beautiful, and usually snow-capped. It is also inspiring. And one of the things it asks you to do is climb it.

George and I ARE NOT going to climb Pico de Orizaba. But, we have begun hiking up a smaller slope. About 15 minutes from our home is the base of a path that leads up a hillside to a historic battle site.

The path starts with wide stairs and transitions to dirt. There are peekaboo views and vistas, and sunny patches where butterflies flit among the flower-bearing trees. There are resting places along the way, and several shrines to The Virgin Mary.

Each week we are pushing ourselves a little further along. Eventually, we'll reach the cannons and flagpole at the top. When we do, we'll give a whoop! and hope that you can hear it (and we'll post to the blog.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Saturday in the Park

We live about a block from Bicentennial Plaza, a compact sunken park with playground, coffee kiosk, ping pong tables, and stages. It's one of our favorite places to spend an afternoon, or even an hour in the morning playing frisbee. This Saturday we stopped in our tracks when we saw tribal dancers preparing for a ceremony.

We can't tell you much about them, but it appeared this was a ceremony of thanksgiving. They laid out flowers and foodstuffs on cloths, then two women used smudge pots to draw smokey circles above those items, which remained at the center of their group dance.

The dancing commenced with the sound of a conch shell being blown, around which they then danced, to drumbeats. Periodically, a leader would recite a long string of words, which we took to be thanks.

One of our favorite aspects of this was the involvement of all ages: from one-year to seventy-something.

And, of course, the costumes were spectacular!