23 August – Feast Day of Santa Rosa de Lima

Santa Rosa de Lima, color pencil/paper, 1994

Santa Rosa de Lima, color pencil/paper, 1994

Yesterday morning I went out into our garden, my mind preoccupied with the violence that haunts our home in Mexico.

Seated on the patio steps, I was drawn out of my funk by an unusual three-note trill emanating from somewhere beyond the bouganvillea.

I was searching for the source when suddenly it appeared – its form somewhat like a jay’s, but devoid of brilliance  – on a telephone wire: within brief seconds it was gone.

So suddenly had this songbird disappeared, I was still gazing in its direction when a monarch butterfly drizzled into view from stage right, below and before the bouganvillea.

Startlingly, the songbird reappeared, pouncing from out of view; plucked the butterfly with its tweezer-like beak; and set about enjoying breakfast on my studio roof.

A quick exploratory poke or two; and the narrative took another unexpected twist: the monarch arighted herself from the asphalt and ambled its uncertain way, slightly rougher around the edges.

The songbird watched for what seemed eternal seconds, and then took off; exit stage right.

Tonight as I write this, family, friends and villagers are marching for peace and justice through Creel, back home in the Sierra Tarahumara, an eternal week to the minute after thirteen of their neighbors were machine-gunned into near-oblivion by the janjaweed of the drug lords.

I choose to take yesterday’s butterfly, universal symbol of rebirth, as a sign that we the people will eventually prevail.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love your Santa Rosa de Lima drawing. So much power. Reminds me of the hindu Shiva for some reason. Must be the fire.

  2. I am filled with impotent rage at the continuing atrocities in Darfur. I hope the prison sentence for the woman who wore trousers, and the ridiculous Teddy Mohammed affair, will draw the world’s attention to the true nature of Sudan’s lunatic misogynist government.
    As for Rose of Lima, apparently she was born on the Island of Taboga, the Island of Flowers, in the gulf of Panama. Her beauty attracted rich suitors, so she ruined her face with lye and hot peppers to avoid an economically strategic marriage and dedicated herself to God. Her face became a ‘rose’. It reminds me of the tropical tribes who deliberately scarred their faces and put wooden plates into their lips to make themselves less attractive to slavers.


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