We live on the demarcation line of history. Our land is bordered by a road in the front and a camino (footpath) in the back. On the road side, the terrain flows into flatlands that tractors can access. Behind the camino, the fields scale back up the mountain, and can only be planted by hand.
The rain has made it clear it’s here to stay, and planting time is in full swing. In Iowa, my homeland, this means the vast, black sea of topsoil is laid bare, and gargantuan farm equipment roam the plains like imperial walkers, dwarfing all natural objects, their drone and growls replacing the cicada’s song and long gone predators. Here in Mexico on the other side of the road, the zero-till trackers crush the clay into brick, giving one pause if you consider the incredible strength of a seed, and how it manages to force it’s escape from the trampled earth. It’s a triumph of nature, they’re sung into the stream of existence by the sun’s siren song.
Behind the camino, the slish of a chuso (hand tool for planting) renting the soil, and the occasional chink as it bounces off stone can be heard in the still of the afternoon, followed by the tapping of a huarache on the newly planted mound. The one hold out in the flatlands, Don Bolillo, still plows his cacahuate (peanut) field with mules, but it is only because they do not yet have a peanut planter in the area. Continue reading