--COMING UP FOR AIR
…I’m back from Mexico, and I’m not begrudging the gray or rain one bit.
Any kind of weather can be beautiful and intriguing if you let it.
…While away, I read, I ran, I swam, I drank; not necessarily in that order.
…Off the top of my head, some of the books I read were these:
“The First Bad Man,” Miranda July
“Going After Cacciato,” Tim O’Brien
“Girl On A Train,” Paula Hawkins
“Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” Wells Tower
“All The Light We Cannot See,” Anthony Doerr
“Benediction,” Kent Haruf
“All My Puny Sorrows,” Miriam Towes
They were all good, for different reasons. Doerr’s novel was somewhat of a tome, or certainly felt like it, coming in at 500+ pages, but it was a speed read. I’d definitely recommend that. He must have researched his ass off.
July’s novel, her first, as far as I know, was quirky and clever. I think I actually liked it best. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me…
It feels good to read, to read for a long stretch and get immersed in a story. As far as entertainment dollars go, I can’t think of anything more worth their value than books. Of course, I’m a writer, so you’d likely expect me to say that, but I do honestly think it’s true.
…In Mexico, in Ixtapa, early morning, I ran. There is a very tiny town, almost not a town at all really, that sits five miles from the resort. You get to it by running through a side road that is just that—a gravel road. I’d been there many times before.
The first thing you see once you get there is lots of skinny dogs that look like malnutritioned, dwarf deer. Normally I’d run by more than a dozen and none would bark or even so much as acknowledge me. I realized this trip that they didn’t chase because they were wisely saving their energy, what with the heat bearing down and them so thin. I ran so close to one dog I brushed its snout with my hip, but he didn’t seem to care.
There are tiny little huts and some tiny stucco homes, cantinas, a squat rectangular building where grade school seems to take place, with uniformed kids chattering and giggling. A cemetery commands the largest plot of land in the barrio, replete with macramé masks tied to tombstones. (It’s not as creepy as it sounds, especially in the daylight.) If you run through the village and keep going to the outskirts you will come upon a rutted road which smells like a dump because of the garbage people have thrown there. But keep running and you’ll pass large swaths of arid land lined with coconut trees and skinny looking cows and donkeys. Keep running still and you’ll eventually come to Eden, this verdant splotch of greenery that seems not to belong—looping fronds dangling over a slender river, the air crisp and clean and chilled, pelicans…
If you run farther yet, you end up with another patch of dirt road. I did that only once and ended up facing a decrepit factory looking building with six Mexican teenagers stationed outside, each holding AK-47’s. I gave them a head nod, and headed the other way.
Now that I am back, I Googled Barrio Viejo San Jose Ixtapa. I Googled images. There were a number of shots of men on the ground with their head shot off. One was of a guy handing from a palm tree.
I might rethink my next run there.