Sunday, November 16, 2014

cutting in lime

I have been in the house for a month now.

A small lime tree, hacked off at the trunk, has lain prostrate in the street the full time I have been here.  From the looks of it, for far longer.

The remnant of its trunk is still growing in the sidewalk at the corner of my neighbor's bungalows.  I suspect she thought the garbage men would haul it off.  They haven't.

And I understand why.  I had just tidied up the landscaping in front of the house when I decided to take matters into my own hands.  After all, I had my clippers.  Why not cut up the tree and bag it?

I had forgotten how thorny lime trees are.  It took me the better part of two hours to clear it away.  Just as I was finishing, I could hear a familiar tune and lyrics wafting my way from the sports field about a block from the house.

Mexicans, at the cry of war,
make ready the steel and the bridle,
and may the Earth tremble at its centers

at the resounding roar of the cannon.

and may the Earth tremble at its centers

at the resounding roar of the cannon!
Martial music.  Martial words. 

I was not surprised.  As I told you yesterday, Revolution Day is this weekend -- when Mexico will celebrate one of its bloodiest decades trying to figure out which general was going to rule the country.

I thought that was what it had to be.  There was the tell-tale sound of a bugle and marching corps.  Singing.  And an announcement in English about an internet company.  (I still have no idea what that was about.)

Festivities were occurring, and I was not there.  I grabbed my electronics-laden backpack and trekked over to the sports arena.

But there were no revolutionary revelations.  Only a soccer field filled with teams of various ages, all standing in the sun while the usual hierarchy of speakers droned on.  In this case, about the patriotic lessons learned on the soccer field.  And there were trophies to be awarded.

In Mañana Forever? Mexico and the Mexicans, Jorge Castañeda writes about the social contradictions that define Mexico.  I witnessed one of them on that soccer field.  The ceremony may have begun with a trembling Earth and the roar of the cannon, but there was no martial mayhem here.

Sadly, the only people dying these days in Mexico as the result of the state's attempt to monopolize violence are Mexican citizens.  At some point next week, I will deal with the issue of the slaughtered (there is no other word) 43 students in

On that soccer field yesterday, there was pride that athletes can learn life lessons from one another -- no matter their age.

I am certain I will have plenty of opportunities in the next few days to report on youngsters dressed in their finest revolutionary getup, who are ready to answer "the cry of war" making ready their steel and bridle.  If only pretending.

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