Tuesday, July 24, 2012

She Spoke to Me or It's Mostly About Me, Myself, and I

I might even say "she spoke with me." We had a bit of a conversation. She didn't speak to me in Chitano, Spanish, or Mixe. The Chitano speaking people seem to know here best, but she is known widely among the people of Mexico. Her name has been heard in the Vatican.

She spoke to me in excellent English. It did seem a bit 'snipish' at first. I head her voice in my mind rather than through my ears. Our talk took place in my mind, seemed quit real. So real that she seemed to speak in the voice of a bit too haughty teenager.

Chitano is a Zapotecan or oto-manguean language.

The Chitano spoken in Juquila, it seems, is so special that it is often considered a language of its own. Juquila is a center for this special Chitano people. Chitano are few, but they can organize and they can fight. They care for the 'Virgin' and they have fought for her. Chitano are members of UCIRI, a large agricultural cooperative of indigenous people.

In English, she may be called the Virgin of Juquila. I did not call her that, nor did she call me Richard or Mr. Sheehan.

I think that I first heard of her in Oaxaca, Oaxaca. I felt her 'call' to me from that city. Later she told me that she made no such call and that it was unthinkable that she would do so.

From Oaxaca, I took the old road to the coast. I don't remember the village of Juquila, but am pretty sure I spent at least a night there. I do remember the great sanctuary built near Juquila. It was large and so made as to receive large numbers of Pilgrims. I remember offerings piled so large with offerings as to form a mountain made holy by faith. There was a large arch through which I could see the 'celito lindo' and across the valley. I did not feel La de Juquila there so continued on my way to her.

I walked up last the sanctuary and soon came to a humble chapel painted a notable gold-yellow. While I was still a ways from it, a tall dark man, wearing a shirt of color similar to that of the chapel, came out of the back door an pointed to a quebrada. I don't know how he detected my coming. He disappeared back into the chapel. I did not follow him him, but continued on to the quebrada which is where I had been headed.

I expected to find a waterfall and I did. the first appearance of the virgin had been near a small falls.

As I got to the edge of the arroyo, I found rustic stairs leading to a kind of viewing platform of cement and with a wrought-iron balustrade.The vie was not spectacular. Close below was a clear stream with a somewhat muddied bank. I was disappointed to see that there seemed to be some trash lying close to the stream. To my right was a little waterfall coming from a height I could not see. I was in the place I was looking for.

I walked down to the little stream. There I found what I had thought was trash was made up of a few tiny paper offerings. There were also many other little offerings there. They were mostly modeled of clay found near the stream Looking at them closely, I saw that they seem made to represent what their makers wanted. The largest number of them seemed to be modest little houses.

I walked up to the falls and saw no easy path to climb beyond them. I found more offerings in near-by niches. Had I the energy I had felt in earlier years I would have searched out the source of the water.

I walked back up to the little viewing platform and leaned upon its railing. There the talk began.

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