"There are none so blind as those who will not see."
I think the first time I heard that adage was in the play Butterflies are Free. The script centers around a romance between a young wealthy blind man and his Bohemian girlfriend. Of course, there is a controlling mother who loves saying things like: " There are none so blind as those who will not see."
The girlfriend eventually takes on the dragon lady with a bit of sardonic wit: "There are none so deaf as those who will not hear. You could make up a lot of those, couldn't you?"
The line is trite because it has become a cliché. But there is a nugget of truth in there -- and I live it each day.
Mexican culture is as odd to me as my northern culture is to my son Omar. We each have certain assumptions about life that lead us to react to the same circumstances quite differently. Once he tells me the thought process he used to get to his conclusion, I understand a little more about Mexico.
Earlier this year, I was on the southern-most extension of my morning walk in Barra de Navidad. There is a sand bar that juts into our laguna that is something of a nature preserve. The trees and brush are perfect cover for birds, lizards, snakes, and scorpions.
It was the trees that caught my attention that morning. Nine years ago, I broke my right ankle while zip-lining in Puerto Vallarta (one foot in the gravy). While I was crutch-bound, Ivan, the young man who delivered my water bottles, stopped by the house to ask if I would like to go for a drive. He wanted to show me how the local water is processed into the product he regularly delivered to my house.
We must have gone in the Shiftless Escape because I do not believe he had a car. Maybe he did. His girlfriend, whose name eludes me, and his young son Brayan accompanied us.
The water plant was interesting. But my most-lasting memory was a brief stop along the road to the plant where Ivan introduced me to one of Mexico's natural treats. Guamuchil. (I should note that even locally there are multiple ways of pronouncing and spelling the word -- as is true of many words that have been adopted from Nahuatl.)
The tree is native to Pacific Mexico -- as well as Central America and northern South America. You can find them almost everywhere in our area.
When he showed the pods to me, I first thought they were soybeans. I was not that far off. The tree is in the pea family -- as are several other varieties of bushes and trees here (my favorite love, the flamboyant tree, and its cousin the mariposa shrub).
But they were like no bean or pea I have ever tasted. The green and red pods contain a series of black seeds surrounded by a cream-colored flesh. The flesh is the sought-after snack.
I will admit I was a bit startled by the flavor. If you can imagine mixing alum and tannin together, you would be on the right track. I am willing to bet my pucker factor was high enough to qualify be as a finalist in a Koi competition.
But I ate what I was offered -- and asked for more. After the first assault, the next few were quite good. They were good enough that I have not seen the need to indulge again.
Until my walk this year. The pods were far too inviting. I had seen my neighbors beating trees to get at the pods during the prior weeks. If it was worth that effort, I decided I needed a reprise.
So I did. The results were the same as my first experience. Alum assault followed by a bit of pleasure.
This time the pulp was quite dry. I suspect I had waited too long in the season to reenact my introduction to guamuchil.
Seeing the pods reminded me of that trip with Ivan and his family. I no longer see him. He is now one of the young Mexicans who are keeping the economy of The States rolling along.
What I do have is a better eye to see what surrounds me. And what could be a better combination? A relationship built and eyes that will see.