Monday, August 21, 2006

To the Bus Stop

Up, up, up. I haven’t been climbing the hill recently. Today’s the first time I’ve done it alone in months. Everything has changed here on the path—as it does daily—since before my surgery. The thick dust of the dry season was packed down by rains in May, turned to mud by June. Small rivers from daily showers have moved the fallen logs and broken branches. Turned sandy mounts into richly covered mossy banks, flanking the path. Red poppy flowers grow up the vines of the black bean plants, encircle the milpa and grow towards the celeste sky. Distant cousins of the dandelion crunch under my feet; violet dots fill the hillside. Just weeks ago, these colors didn’t exist on the palette of San Pablo. Everything is in process of development, of growth.

I stop for water, for a breath, and think about last night. I question why expressing one’s opinion is looked down upon, taken personally. A room full of teenagers and two leaders whose job it is to lead them, put weight behind an idea. And the rest, hesitantly and obediently, concur. Carefully, I suggested giving the pros and cons of all the ideas. But I am told that I do not understand.

Glassy eyes, a runny nose, dry throat. I am on the steep incline of the shortcut now, and stop for more water. Vibrant lime-green three-leaf clovers descend over rotting brown pine needles, once orange and red, lighting the path with passionate energy. I do not understand. They have tried the same idea before and had success. I know, but what about going through the motions with the other ideas? No, I still don’t get it. That would be a waste of time. The two leaders want this project, not another.

I am on the road now, only 15 minutes to go to the bus stop. Still, I have seen no one. The tip of the volcano flirts with my eyes and the dogs lay still. It’s midday, not their usual barking hour. Their manuals were printed in Guatemala, but written in the United States. The business scheme is plainly gringo, highly organized and full of sensible and rigid guidelines, advice, and activities. My comment reinforces the order of the meeting, the purpose of brainstorming, the goal of arriving at the perfect product. But I still do not understand. I shut up. I think to myself, Why am I here, where my presence is consistently thanked, but my ideas, my talents, and energies are rarely used?

At the bus stop are men I’ve never seen before. They squint in my direction and ask me if I’m leaving for San Marcos. No, just to Tacaná for market day. The volcano rises high above the forest in the distance and has moved on to flirting with the clouds. The ground is dry; the flowers in front of the store are covered in dust. It hasn’t rained heavily in weeks. Later—when I lunch with Ever—he wonders out loud what that means, what kind of rains await us now?

3 Comments:

At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of life's struggles are not of the physical form....

Keepa smiling, keepa learning, above all, keep gentle thoughts....

Paul

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger gtoz said...

On the road to Tacana. HMMM, sounds like a good title for a book maybe aye?

 
At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed "To the Bus Stop". Your talent and writing ability make me feel that I am there with you. I can just about feel the heat,walk the road, talk your thoughts. Good job!

spk

 

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