Usually when I drive to San Martin and beyond I’m going as fast as I can and not paying much attention to what’s around me. Often I’m listening to podcasts and thinking about, oh any great number of things. Today I was moved to go much more slowly and to pay attention, and because of that attention it was an amazing drive both ways.
Driving by in my air-conditioned bubble, and there were all the people getting about their ordinary daily lives, living along the street – making bricks, taking corn to the mill, working on the drainage ditches, waiting for the bus, getting breakfast at one of the little ramshackle pupuserias, herding cattle, carrying children and running after children, going to the fields.
It was like driving along beside one of the Books of Hours that shows people at work in their daily lives, like driving along a Brueghel painting. All those ordinary, holy lives being lived in plain view, all involved with the sweat of their hands and the weight of the earth. I see them every time I drive this road, which is lots, but today, today I saw them and am humbled by them, and I know how much I am going to miss them. And how beautiful and solid are these lives lived in deep connection with earth and water and families. Looking from here, our lives feel transient, transparent, shadowy and concerned with shadows.
I know this is only a part of the story. I know that people live under great stress here, the stress of not having enough money to pay for education or needed medications, the stress of having some of the little they do have extorted from them, the sheer stress of physical labor in this heat. And yet how beautiful they are, how full of the goodness of God.
(thanks to Mitch Costin for the photos)