Monday, October 01, 2012
the great circumnavigator
We’re not talking Magellan here. We are talking me.
After all, Magellan gets credit for a trip he did not even complete. Having become one with the ocean in The Philippines. At least, I finished mine.
Perhaps the chief reason I live at the beach is my love of the ocean. I just like having it there. Even when I go for weeks without seeing it.
But I am now convinced that any large body of water will do. Because I feel the same way about Lake Pátzcuaro.
Last year I took a day trip around the lake. Stopping at each of the little villages. Especially, the churches and shrines. And there are plenty. And not all of them are based on faiths familiar to most westerners.
Because Sunday was my last day in town, I decided to spend my time on a Sunday drive. The type of activity we enjoyed as children. Before television conspired to break up such simple outings.
All trips need to start somewhere. Magellan started in Seville. I started at the base of the statue honoring the Mexican president who retired in Pátzcuaro -- Lázaro Cárdenas.
There is no doubt that Cárdenas was a leftist. But he was not as far left as the statue of him in the plaza would indicate. Whenever I drive into town and see the statue, I think I am entering Pyongyang. With the exception of the well-fed citizens.
Al Lanier commented recently that Mexico is filled with this type of dreadful Socialist Realism art. In this case, it makes the basically honest Cárdenas look like a Stalin wannabe.
But it was a place to start. I headed off clockwise around the western edge of the lake. At this end, it is easy to see how the level of the lake has dropped.
What were once islands are now dry land. Corn grows, and cattle and horses graze on what was, until a few decades ago, lake bed.
I thought I would gratuitously drop this photograph in for a few of my Mexican friends with a particular political bent. A painted sign on a wall near the lake, it is only slighted edited.
Even in the heartland of the left, inadvertent humor can raise its head.
From the north shore, it is easier to see how the volcano on the south shore turns what would be an O-shaped lake into a C-section with a northern and southern arm.
I had just commented to myself that the country wild flowers do not have much of an opportunity to grow on the north shore due to the lack of cultivated fields. And then I ran into this tableaux.
Stone walls. Swaths of colors. Soaring peaks. The combination -- and alliteration -- alone was well worth the trip. But there was more.
The south shore, of course. You can see why I would like to live along this little stretch of road. However, there would be no garden to relax in. A requirement in Mexico --as far as I am concerned.
Unless, of course, Wall Street goes giddy and my 401K increases a hundredfold. Then, I may end up with this little shack on the lake.
Not the gazebo. Though I probably would be satisfied with it -- and the view.
I was talking about the mansion to the right. I think I could easily pose as an arriviste on its grounds. I really like the little bridge down by the lake.
And so we come full circle. Around the lake. And in art.
Just before I got back to my starting point, I caught this view of the Morelos statute on Janitzio Island. It is undoubtedly one of the best examples of just how bad Socialist Realism can be.
Even the blanket of cosmos cannot help it. In fact, the statute suffers by comparison.
Despite what the statue looks like on the outside, it has a marvelous view at the top of Morelos’s raised fist. A view I did not get to see on this trip.
If you are reading this after 7 AM on Monday, I am already on the road back to the beach.
And, for a few days, I will undoubtedly want to talk about my trips of the last two months. There may even be some long-term lessons embedded in those thoughts.