happy november! it amazes me how quickly these past few weeks have gone by. peru was a really special trip for me. so special that i've been at a loss for words as to how to talk about it, let along write about it any kind of pretty way. also, due to an influx of photography work (which i am always so grateful for), i haven't had time to edit the photographs.
but this voyage deserves to be celebrated in any way that i know how, which means i have to follow my own advice and start small. before running out the door this morning, i pulled what i think could be my favorite photograph of the trip from my hard drive. it's taken in the town where i did the peace corps, a tiny village called mazac. it's at yolanda and don juan's house, on the first day of november, a day when peruvians honor the ones who have died in their family by making bread. i am not quite sure why they do this, but everyone does. extended families join together in the homes of those who have outdoor brick ovens and they spend the day turning sticky dough worked through with lard--bought from a family down the hill--into lots and lots of bread.
you can see my friend mary on one side, giggling at me taking a photograph and one of my godson's kevin, giggling at mary giggling. they are laughing because i think the sheep passing through is photo-worthy while they think it's something that happens twice a day, like clockwork. this happened late morning on the day i left, again, after five days of visiting. during these days i slept in my old room, walked back and forth from town to the village, and distributed a suitcase of trinkets from the states amongst the different families. my other godson, kenneth, followed me around wherever i went, including to the top of the nearby hill. from there we looked out at the village and beyond, and it felt like the wind was hungry enough to blow us away.
they told mama ticu, the grandma matriarch of them all, that i was leaving and she answered me in quechua, i think about how i was going to stay there and build my own house. i laugh and answer "aumi, aumi. allpa allim." (yes, yes. very good). it's always a tempting offer to me. being there makes me realize that there is always something missing in the states and as much as i hate parts of being there, i love it and need it and will spend forever seeking it out. i hope my presence there offers some kind of balance for them as well.
about an hour later we ate lunch. in their black-walled kitchen, twelve people of every age sat quietly eating big bowls of cilantro-laced rice with chicken. once that bowl was finished, it was filled again with a smokey soup of peas and scallions. one them was me--long-boned, smiling, perpetually out of place. i ate past the point of fullness and felt tremendously grateful to be there with them. it felt like proof that there is such a thing as returning and finding that intersection point between two different worlds, that bigness in the middle of things. to me it's a buoy, holding me up as i travel the line back and forth, back and forth, as often as i can.
of course there is so much more, but sharing that is a start. i'm happy to report that since coming home i have felt grounded and content, despite the changing winds of vata all around us. (tip: if you are feeling imbalanced by the cold, dry change in season right now, then you can balance yourself with a warming sesame oil massage, eating more ghee, and by going to bed and getting up at the same time everday). also, because the energy of gratitude is so wonderfully balancing, enjoy your thanksgiving break to the max. i'll leave you with this song from the magnetic fields (that adam and i saw play very well, as they always do, at 6th and i synagogue last night).