The pilgrim’s progress

a castle spewing rockets and fire

a castle spewing rockets and fire (Photo credit: uteart)

On the bus I saw pilgrims walking along the shoulder of the highway, pairs of ladies in long tops and hats, as if out to stroll. Utes with splendid altars and flowers for the Virgin on the tray. Teenage boys cycling in matching t-shirts and blue sports pants accompanied by trucks with banners on the side, determined in the sun.

My friend and I reunited at anti-stress yoga, then I met the scientist at the lookout and we went for pizza, and to sit where a market was packing up.

We went to a day of yoga and meditation in a hot loft, and to a sushi restaurant. Then cleaning, supermarket and to sit by the pool. The sky was brown but clear and there were stars. What is there but certain simple things.

In the morning we went to the park to run when the sun was already clear and bright. I made three laps around the lake. We went for tacos and a big juice in a busy taqueria.

In the afternoon we went to a Mexican barbeque. The husband charred tomatoes and chilies and took them inside in a blender to make the salsa, which is apparently not typical for male householders. There was meat, vegetables, nopales with cheese. We sat on the back porch and I looked at the lantana and bougainvillea while everyone talked.

I took a taxi downtown. There was some kind of festival, with drums in the plaza and street and people dressed with bells on their ankles dancing ecstatically in the indigenous manner, as well as a brass band, and people dressed as death or America. I found my friend in the crowd. In another plaza a band played in a rotunda which was totally encircled by dancing couples, many elderly. My friend said it was beautiful and ‘the real Mexico’.

At the big fiesta we saw fireworks from the church and a fire castle, which is like a metal tower with different wheels up the sides. When the fuse is lit there are many sparks, and then the wheel starts to burn in the same way as a sparkler, but massive and coloured, spinning and spewing sparks. My friend said not to be worried because I have with me a paramedic. Afterwards, it becomes a wreck of metal.

Rilke has written in his Letters to a Young Poet #8: It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension… Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us… because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us… has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream. And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed…

We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside.

Which is what catches in the throat when dressing to go out, or looking at the flowers in the garden, or on the bus, and suddenly there is solitude. Something is working away.

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One thought on “The pilgrim’s progress

  1. Pingback: The trouble with dreams | eateateat

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