Monday, October 1, 2007

Guatemala -Then and Again

Walking down into the valley, the streets are littered with people's lives, garbage.

Another day is done.

A man struggles to mount his bike, upon which many pounds of material are strapped, protected by a black trash bag, protected from the rain that pours on all the people who are trying to find their way home.

Behind him a small boy walks, shoeless and dirty. His dusty cheeks smile as he kicks an aluminum can, and his mother watches him with tired eyes. She balances a basket on her head and he reaches for her hand. The baby on her back looks on, past the garbage and the rain and his eyes are not fighting anything. He plays with his mother's hair.

An old woman sits crouched in the corner, beckoning for me to come to her. Small withered hands reach into a woven basket and pull out a lifetime of colour, so much colour that I wonder why we are ever needing anything else... this is all there is but it is beautiful and generous and I smile.

Behind her another old woman carries a pile of wood, held by a sash that pulls against her forehead. She is crying, and it is heavy, and her hands are also full.

I look down at my own empty hands and feel the sun on my hair, which is free to wander, pulled toward the sky. The sky is cloudy and it's eyes are angry, reaching with infinite hands, down to an earth that has been built and rebuilt.

Always shifting, the land hums and sighs, never quite settled.

Lovers sit in concrete bowls, tangled like the roots of ancient trees and I hear laughter beside me. Their eyes look past me to eachother; there is no one else around.

The men stumble home, following the shadows of lanterns and candlelight, and little boys are close behind, noses running as quickly as their tiny feet.

I hear these sounds and smile, knowing that to some this land is as familiar as anything could ever be.