"In the afternoon when the sun lights the stucco buildings across the street, it's possible to count a dozen different colors of paint, all fading together on the highest parts of the wall: yellow, ochre, brick, blood, cobalt, turquoise. The national color of Mexico. And the scent of Mexico in a similar blend: jasmine, dog piss, cilantro, lime. Mexico admits you through an arched stone orifice into the tree-filled courtyard of its heart, where a dog pisses against a wall and a waiter hustles through a curtain of jasmine to bring a bowl of tortilla soup, steaming with cilantro and lime. Cats stalk lizards among the clay pots around the fountain, doves settle into the flowering vines and coo their prayers, thankful for the existence of lizards. The potted plants silently exhale, outgrowing their clay pots. Like Mexico's children they stand pinched and patient in last year's too-small shoes. The pebble thrown into the canyon bumps and tumbles downhill.
Here life is strong-scented, overpowering. Even the words. Just ordering breakfast requires some work like toronja, triplet of muscular syllables full of lust and tears, a squirt in the eye. Nothing like the effete "grapefruit," which does not even mean what it says."
-Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna
I'm missing Mexico like crazy this winter. In this cold, dry place I think often of humidity on my skin and twisting through my hair, and long to hear warm, deep languages spoken in crowded markets. The sleepy rhythms, sounds, and smells of rural fishing villages are calling to me, and Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna isn't helping much. Mexico, Frida, politics, and art make for a colorful, thoughtful read - perfect (though slightly heartbreaking for the landlocked) for these short, dark days of winter.
Happy weekend. Hope it's a lovely one.