Friday, April 4, 2008


Hey, everybody:
I took a drive over to Patzcuaro yesterday, and I was surprised at how easy it was to find my way there. On they way, I took a detour through Cuanajo and Tupataro, two quaint attractigve little towns where artisans make handcarved furniture. Then I went on to Patzcuaro; I thought I had been there twice for the Dia de los Muertos two and three years ago, but I realized as I drove through town how little I had seen of it. This is a fascinating colonial town with a number of beautiful plazas and filled with intriguing architecture along narrow winding streets, kind of like Guanajuato. I can't wait to explore the town again.
It's amazing what time can do for your perspective. I wrote a story a couple of years ago about Cupatitzio Gorge National Park in Uruapan, but when I took a stroll through the park again earlier this week I had a whole new range of thoughts.
The moment you enter the park you encounter water rushing from the earth through a fountain where it descends, bounces, crawls its way back down before coming to rest in a quiet pool. An African tulip tree, dotted with flaming orange blossoms and glitters of sun, heaves over the terracotta roof of an office building; light magenta blooms hanging on a thick vine rush up a palms as if to contemplate strangulation, but the tree reaches up to the sky, showing no signs of resignation.
Broad stone pathways, lined by a green wall of ferns, palms, and spindly coffee bushes heavy with dark red fruit, wind their way through the forest, frequently perforated by gazebos selling coffee, cups of fruit, quesadillas with pumpkin flowers, chicken enchiladas, tortas, and cold drinks. The paths are riddled with streams of water that exhale their sweet musty breath as they descend toward the river. The people who constructed the elaborate stone walls and pathways were true artists, harnessing the water into a series of exhibitions: water shoots in tiny loops through a wide series of steps, crashes over rocks, pours gently down walls, rises into elegant fans, rushes, screams, gallivants down narrow corridors.
At a place called Arcoiris, three plumes of water shoot into the air, capturing a wandering rainbow that arches through the thin mist toward the blackberry vines falling over a stone wall. A young girl stops and gazes at the spectacle a moment; she sees the rainbown, the leans forward, hands open in frantic, unrestrained joy, her jet black ponytail whipping about as she rushes to the other side, her wondering nervous black eyes wide and quivering.
Spent with the fatigue of thunderous discovery, she recedes to the security of her mother while her excitement seems to have seeped into the consciousness of another family that crowds around for pictures of the moment.

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