Wednesday, October 12, 2011

the storm that never was

In Mexico, I've been here almost a week. Right now I'm in Sayulita, a beach town in Nayarit. A hurricane was supposed to hit last night but didn't. I waited up until I couldn't then slept. When I woke up the town was wet. I don't if the storm fizzled out or if it went somewhere else. I got the beginning of a poem out of it. Waiting for something that will change the landscape and it never arrives, or when it does, you don't notice.

I was coming to Mexico to spend some days (after another trip to the ranch) alone, on the beach, writing and getting back to myself. The day before I left my friend Cecil decided to come with me and I'm super glad he did. We've been friends for a long time. Our friendship has been through a lot, bad things I did back in the day, bad shit he did back in the day. I think that out of all of my friends he is the one I am able to be most honest with since we have no romantic history, no possibility of romantic future and we know way too much about each other. I think he knows more about me than anyone else alive on the planet and he regularly calls me out on my bullshit, which I appreciate. We don't judge each other. We have similar traveling styles and attitudes so the trip has been very laid back so far.

There have been adventures. We went to the ranch for the annual Festival de la Virgen. The village parties were lovely. This year the festival was slightly bigger, with carnival rides. There was more of a police presence than last year, probably because of the shooting last year but it was pretty calm. Great big crowds of men gather at the edge of the dance floor (basketball court) and swig beer after beer. Cecil and I set up lawn chairs in the back of my grandmother’s truck so that we could have a good view. The first night after we went to bed masked gunmen showed up and the entire town shut down rather quickly, not surprisingly.

Village life is pretty damn interesting, the relationships are complicated because everyone is very much related. Our family is especially complicated since my paternal grandfather had so many children. 52 live births with 38 of those still living. Three out of the six women he had all those children with live in the village, which isn’t very big. Fifty years after the fact those three women still don’t like to be near each other, but all of their kids are friends. People gossip non-stop. A women will walk by and my grandmother will tell me of how that women slighted her 60 years ago.

I love the pace of life at the ranch. Everything slows down. The first night is always rough, getting used to the constant flow of people, how laid back everything is. I always get a little frantic, wondering how I’m going to fill my days then at some point something in me turns off and I relax into the rhythm of it. The children in town are awesome, none of them are bratty. They all are independent, respectful and creative. They don’t have the distractions of television and computers. They don’t have schedules or strict rules about what they can or cannot do. There are no play dates. I worry that things are going to change quickly. Already everyone has cell phones. They have facebook accounts they access from school. Soon internet services will be available in town and the way of life will disappear.

The town we're in is a surf spot, filled with a lot of ex-pats. Having lived in an ex-pat Mexican town before I recognize certain archetypes, hustlers, escapees. The weather has limited our beach time but we swam in the ocean yesterday. Our hotel has a large patio outside our room where the other guests gather to chat and eat. I'm not feeling especially social these days so I haven't interacted much. We have two more days here before heading back and I'm not sure what we'll do. The outer arms of the storm have the sky clouded, rain comes and goes. I'll try to get some novel writing down, maybe. Or I'll just keep sitting on the balcony, watch the rain and think too much.

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