Words on the Wind… Chiapas

From the chapter “Scattering Words on the Winds” in Blackbirds in the Pomegranate Tree: Stories from Ixcotel State Prison available on Amazon.com

In Chiapas I witnessed as a community faced their dark and pulled hope from it, lacing their daily lives with a luminous trust in themselves and in the future, in spite of having so few choices… or precisely because of it. I learned that the elusive heartbeat of the indigenous world extends far beyond what outsiders can appreciate from the swirl of their art’s form and color in the local markets. In situ, this doggedness of spirit might only be possible in a people intimate with nature’s ability to renew. In people who celebrate rain and rejoice when a sunflower’s weary seeded head falls to the earth. In people who feel the very movement of the earth.

I slipped a smooth, freckled stone from La Realidad into my pocket, a reminder of durability and beauty produced by centuries of erosion.

A group of women sang—they traveled around Mexico and produced a CD. A savvy use of technology marks the new indigenous movement. They called themselves “Las Abejas”—the Bees. They learned songs in Spanish to present their stories to the public. If you didn’t know, the songs sounded tender and cheerful. But translated from Tzeltal, they told of guns and power and the loss of lives so dear that only song could manage the retelling without tears.

Kohlabal. Thank you” I said.

“Tell people about us.” I believe this is what they said. I am not certain, but they pointed at me and made a sign like scattering words on the wind.

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