Thursday, January 21, 2010

went up the hill

There is a small town, La Huerta, in the mountains about 40 minutes from Melaque. 

I had planned visiting there when the heat was getting too much for Jiggs.  After he died, I did not get around to making the short drive into the mountains.

All of that changed while Roy was here.  He wanted to see something new.  We had been north and south.  And we were about to venture into the ocean.  So, we decided a mountain trip would be just what we needed for a little adventure.

The drive into the mountains is beautiful.  Like most of Mexico, the Pacific coast has a small alluvial plain that rises steeply into the mountains that make up the central highlands.

The view from the highway is stunning.  Precipitous drops into steep valleys.  Most of them incapable of supporting much life.  And certainly would not support any life if a vehicle decided to be precipitous enough to visit the floor of one of those valleys.

And steep enough that the dreaded transmission noises returned.  At least Roy can testify that my ears are not merely playing tricks. 

Our stay in La Huerta was brief.  It turned out to be one of those villages that has a practical purpose for its surrounding farms, but very little to offer the tourist thirsty for history or more mundane pleasures.

So, we turned around and came down the mountain.  Unlike Jack and Jill, we neither fell down or broke our crowns (whatever that might mean in the exegesis of nursery rhymes).

But we did discover an interesting sight.

On our way into the mountains, Roy saw our local cemetery.  Some of you have been introduced to it already when I discussed my small fishing village's rather lax Day of the Dead celebration.  But Roy was interested in exploring it.

So, we stopped on the way back to Melaque.

The last time I was there, the place was in bad repair.  Tall grass everywhere.  Weeds.  Trash.  The husks of once-colorful plastic wreaths.

During our visit the place looked better, and the reason was readily apparent.  Two men were busily weeding and edging the graves.  Probably in the hope that our next few months of dry weather will keep the weeds down.

Roy was duly impressed with the number of tombs that literally house bodies.  City of the Dead is a reality in Mexican cemeteries.

But what caught Roy's eye was just outside the cemetery fence.

Cocked at an interesting angle, a tomb-like structure appears to be sneaking onto hallowed ground.

Roy suggested an interesting exercise.  If he had been an English teacher, he would have put the following question to his writing students.  "What is this picture all about?  Why is the tomb outside the cemetery?  Who is buried there?  A suicide refused a holy place to rest?  An unfaithful husband making his final trip home?  A secret lover searching for her heart's desire?"

OK.  Part of the questions are Roy's; part are mine.

The point is that Roy, as a visitor, found the heart of Mexico.  It is a land filled with questions and few answers.

And that is its joy.

So -- why did the tomb cross the fence?


Michael Dickson said...

The deceased was a Methodist.

sparks_mex said...

Steve ... the next time you are in La Huerta check with the tourist office about a 1/2 block off the plaza.

There are hot springs, petroglyphs, interesting small towns and the history of Lake Altilte. Also the town of Cuzalapa (Coffee) is less than an hour to the south. Beautiful country

Chrissy y Keith said...

We had some great food in La Huerta. Our friends that we were travelling with at that time ran the Funeral Home in Juneau. So we often visit all the cemetaries and browse coffins stores.

Nancy said...

I guess the person committed suicide,

Anonymous said...

To pass over to the other side.

A. N. M.

Katie said...

A.N.M. wins!

Unknown said...

Felipe is most likely correct. In south Louisiana, where land is a soggy commodity, cemetary plots are a valued thing. However, most are Catholic owned, and reserved for the Roman Catholic members. Only. Nada. Change religion and you lose your plot. Fortunately my Methodist family had a cemetary of its own but opened it up to other Protestants in the tiny Cajun town I was from so that the other heathans, um, I meant Protestants, could find a resting spot.

Anonymous said...

I would have given 1st prize to Felipe until I read A.N.M.'s answer. Great answers.


Steve Cotton said...

Felipe -- Always a possibility. No hallowed ground for the heathen -- so I am told.

El Jubilado -- The trip was a whim. But I should have checked with you first. I will drive back up there fpr the petroglyphs alone -- if my transmission holds up.

Chrissy -- And I thought I was a bit ghoulish.

Nancy -- Another good possibility. I should ask around. Someone must know.

ANM -- 10,000 bonus points.

Katie -- Yes. he is quite clever. Always has been.

Laurie -- It appears we share some linguistic roots.

Mom -- I agree. But the readers of this blog are all a clever lot.