Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another day in Paradise

Greetings from the Yucatan! Another invigorating and exciting day from Santa Elena. Nate Butler and I spent the morning hiking with Don Felix's to his milpa (field) not too far from where we are staying. Along the way we were treated to much of his Mayan herbal remedies, as he stopped to cut a piece of plant and explain to us what it could cure. We were shown the plants... and told how to prepare them... that could relieve cramps, help with asthma and help pass kidney stones. The highlight of the day was when he talked about how the Mayan people are not a large people, that they lived now with people of Spanish descent, that Santa Elena was a town of many different people and they all get along. That he considered all men to be brothers because we shared the same blood. That is why Santa Elena is such a good place to live with no crime and why everyone gets along

He also recounted the Mayan version of The Flood, a story common to every civilization. More on that later when I get an accurate translation.

We then visited his fathers milpa, which was passed down to him, and will be passed down his sons. It was a tremendously rocky piece of earth, with stone walls erected to show the boundaries. There they practice slash and burn, followed by planting of Maize, watermelon and a version of squash. (At the local restaurant we are often served fresh watermelon juice to drink). To an outsider it seems like an alien landscape but he declared it beautiful. The field next door had been slashed and burned the year before and was already shoulder high in brush. The corn is planted randomly, not in rows, but helter shelter, whenever there seems to be enough soil to support it. There were also some stones that were so square that they had to have been cut by the hand of man, and Don Felix said they were leftover from ancient times.

On the way home, the subject of dogs came up, and Mr Butler told Don Felix how much he loved his dog...and pampered him. Don Felix stated that you shouldn't "brush a dog's teeth" but let him be a dog. But then he talked about his dog, Primo. He liked dogs better than cats because dogs would go with you to the Milpa and keep you company while you worked.

Enough for now...more tomorrow

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