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Prayers for the Dead, Rain and Tortillas

Dr David, Editor / Publisher

The big news is not the multiple mass shootings north of the border. Nor is it that dozens of tortilla shops in Celaya have shut down to protest cartel extortion and a triple murder of their own. (Mexico News Daily) The big news is that the rains have come.

I've always been impressed with how hard it is to find yesterday's weather, let alone last week's, online. You can find 3, 5 and even 10 day predictions of weather to come, but yesterday's weather, like yesterday's news, is, well, yesterday's weather.

Still, I'm ready to bet that before last Tuesday it hadn't rained in 10 days. I'll add to my wager and assert that before those 10 dry days, rainfall was much lower than average. Backing me up are the farmers of the Saturday market, who were all complaining about the lack of rain this year.

In the Temple in Jerusalem on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, the High Priest, as he exited the Holy of Holies, would offer a short prayer for rain that concluded, "...and don't pay attention to the prayers of the travelers."

It seems those ancient travelers were inconvenienced by rain and so were praying for it to be delayed until their journeys' end. Hence, we have the priest's request to ignore the travelers' prayers. Sometimes, the few must be inconvenienced for the needs of the many.

Now I like a sunny day as much as the next guy. But my enjoyment, like the travelers' inconvenience, is unimportant compared to the need of the farmers for rain. Living in the city it is easy to be divorced from the cycles of nature. It's like in an urban environment you almost don't have a choice. Nature has a way of keeping you honest, in touch with the community of life.

Lacking that natural connection people get a little crazy or, sometimes, a lot crazy. I think this is a major factor behind the multiple mass shootings up north (that and the hyper-charged, near-hysterical political environment).

This break with nature also relates to tortillas. I'm not referring to the big craziness of murdering tortilla makers in Celaya, although that is also unnatural. I'm referring to a smaller craziness of which I was reminded when I published an article a couple Sundays ago. Glen Rogers' piece, Treasures of the Otomi Pueblo is about her beautiful painting. In the article she observes, "The Otomi women embellish their tortillas with designs using sacred imagery. Each family has its own seal carved out of wood from the mesquite tree and the dark purple dye from the muicle plant is used to stamp the images."

Well, some do and some don't. Recently I was in El Vulcan hardware store, where the woman in line before me was buying a purple dye out of a can with which to stamp her tortillas. The dye was, in my estimation, not approved for food stuffs. I hope, but doubt, that I was wrong in thinking that it was toxic.

As I finish writing this piece here in San Antonio, Saturday evening, the church chimes its eight o'clock melody. The storm has just passed, thunder rumbling more distantly now on its way to Guanajuato. The last drops of rain pit and pat, falling less and less frequently on the leaves of the plant just outside of my window. The overcast lightens just as night comes on.

Today was perfect. A warm, sunny day followed by an early evening deluge. Here in the twilight I offer up my prayers for the murdered on both sides of the border, for the tortillerias in Celaya and for rain. Won't you join me?


photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr. David welcomes you to San Miguel Sunday. Anyone with any interest in contributing articles is heartily encouraged to contact him at the email below. The "Best City in the World" deserves a good Lokkal magazine.

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