Saturday, March 29, 2008

A sacred well and the end of time....

I have seen the tall golden spikes of the maguey used in alters at this time of year, these maguey flower were placed outside the garden surrounding the sacred grove

This small town has a sacred well that is formed by the roots of some very old (as in thousands) trees called Auhuehuates, they are a kind of cypress and I think related to the cypress trees we know in North Carolina, although these trees keep their leaves all year. I read about this town on the Mexican textiles site and was intrigued.

The villagers have built a walled garden around the trees, and obviously value this very ancient, sacred site. The trees looked stressed because of the dry season and the water was very far down past the massive roots into a pool at the bottom. It was hard to tell how deep the water was because of the dark roots. Every year in Oaxaca (and indeed in many, probably most, other places in the world) the ground water level drops and most of the surface water is contaminated.

When I was riding back in the collective taxi (these taxis do not leave until there are 3 people in the back and 2 passengers and the driver in the front) the ladies in the back seat were chatting in Zapotec and I was talking to the driver in Spanish, the ladies were listening of course.

I expressed concern for the tree, the fact that it looked a little sick and the water in the well at the bottom of the roots was so far down. Everyone at this point burst into laughter which continued for at least a few seconds, they then told me that the idea that the tree would ever die was just simple not possible, the idea was so ludicrous that it made them laugh.

In their minds this tree and sacred spot had been of their lives and part of their history for untold generations and would live forever. However, when they stopped laughing, we did talk about the fact that water is less available every year, but they simply could not wrap their minds around the inevitable conclusion, and maybe that is a good thing.

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