|Sierra Gorda de Queretaro, MX|
And somewhere in between the two extremes is a sense that it’s the right time, perfect timing, just enough time to get done what gets done.
Can I hold on to that sense of acceptance, meditate on it each day ‘till I turn blue with knowing – or time simply runs out?
And funny, too, how just as you are preparing to go, trying to close doors, others start cracking open. Last night, at a little fiesta de cupleaños for my neighbor Lalo, the Tenedor hamburgesa man, I met Saul. Turns out he’s the son of the carpenter that’s frequently in our office getting permissions to cut down mesquite trees. Father and son have the same round face, santa cheeks and sparkly eyes.
Saul, I discovered, is one of two Couchsurfers in the pueblo – the other is a Frenchman – I didn’t know there was a Frenchman in Green River. They open their doors to visitors from all over the world – in attempts to open up their small world here.
Saul was intrigued with my Peace Corps service. As we sipped Victorias in the hot, crowded hamburger shop he asked: What made you do this – leave your business and life in United States for filantropia?
I was surprised by his question; so few people over my two years have actually asked me what I was doing here, and I’d gotten used to being the mysterious gringa-possibly-spy. What’s more, now that I was on my way out, the question seemed almost irrelevant.
Still, I was happy to answer, curious whether it was the same story I told when I began my Peace Corps journey two summers ago: To escape the marble halls of Washington, DC, I replied. Get my hands dirty – have a chance to work with real people on real problems. Understand what it means, en verdad, to be sustainable.
Yep, it was the same story, no revisionist history there. And I could say it in Spanish now! What’s more, all of it had come true. I’ve been covered in tierra from head to toe working with the Zama Mamas on their sustainable vivero, campo dust in my hair, mouth, eyes – between my toes – bucket baths and latrine toilets with the pig tied up on the other side of the curtain – unsure where the smell was coming from, him or me.
Saul got it – his sparkly eyes got serious and he said he wished he’d met me sooner – dos meses es muy poco tiempo. He’s an agricultural engineer and teaches at the tech university in the pueblo and he says he wants to change the world too.
Two months es una montaña de tiempo, I told him, a ton of time.
As I’m letting go, I’m also holding on, telling myself: Mexico is not China – I don’t have to cross an ocean to return. And as pure luck would have it, I was born on that side of the frontera, not this one. So I don’t have to swim a river come back.