Dec 20, 2015

THE OTHERSIDE OF THE VOLCANO - Part Seventeen: Fast Forward to Pre-Christmas 2015 GREETINGS with Pedro and Beatriz Alvarado and my living compañeros/compañeras too!

The Panchoy Valley, Sacatepequez, Guatemala
It's almost Christmas.  It's almost the end of the year 2015.  It's a very cloudy morning at the foot of the Volcan de Fuego, Sacatepequez, Guatemala. We are feeling festive and fine and Juan Carlos, aka Carlitos Fuentes, is preparing the garden for Noche Buena celebrations and Convite guests a few days later.  

During the past week I have been thinking about my life and the gift of living it as a (busy/loved) child, (active) teen, (striving) adult and as a once *thirsty* and now non-drinking alcoholic. Today, I am a sober (not to be confused with always sane) artist in residence who is living at my adopted retirement cottage/village in the enchanting-take-your-breath-away valley of Panchoy, Sacatepequez, Guatemala, HERE:,+Guatemala?&source=bl&ots=RH8yhdMQN2&sig=vvmUUbOx5TRbLNfXv9z6hAZmypk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi08eq56-rJAhVMXR4KHV2xCPsQ6AEILzAD#v=onepage&q=Valley%20of%20Panchoy%2C%20Guatemala%3F&f=false  . 

There is a whole lifetime of  adventure and experience that I have journeyed through and enjoyed (mostly) in my passage to date.  It's been fun writing my personal story here, chapter by chapter, The Otherside Of The Volcano is slowly taking shape. I keep thinking that I want to tell more very private parts of my experience...maybe I will write flashbacks in the new year. My personal ¨narrative¨ on life brings me to this morning, December 20, 2015, in this historic, and sometimes mysteriously enchanting, place. Leonardo aka Len, a white, retired-Americano (almost all English blood with a touch of Pawnee Indian thanks to a pioneer to the U.S. West and my Great/Great, mixed race, Grandmother ) . I live on the Calle Real at the foot of the Fuego Volcano and at the edge of Spanish Land Grant finca San Sebastian.

Volcan de Fuego (active)
I am living among the Guatemalan people (mostly with Maya and mixed, Ladino, heritage) in a fascinating  village environment that is San Miguel Dueñas, Sacatepequez.  The local residents/culture, all of them/it intact, except for retired married Americanos who live at the other end of town.  I rarely see them. Most everyone I interact with daily are Guatemaltecos.  I love them and they are very kind and polite to me...they always inspire me.

Volcan de Agua (Ciudad Vieja at upper right corner and Antigua in foreground)
San Miguel Dueñas is authentic to the core with a very long local history since it is located just south of Ciudad Vieja, the second Capitol of Guatemala.  Iximche, the first capitol, now a lovely ruin (and favorite place of mine) is about one hour and a half away by car ).  

Historically interesting, to me, is my nearness to the Volcan de Agua and the death-by-mudslide place of Beatriz de la Cueva de Alvarado (1510 -September 1541). Doña Beatriz, second wife (sister of first wife) of Pedro de Alvarado y Contreras, Conquistador.  You see, after news of the Governor Pedro Alvarados death in Mexico, Doña Beatriz manipulated the political confusion and made herself Governor of Guatemala...she died a few days later, drowned, with her baby, in a mudslide at her home in Ciudad Vieja.  A superstitous end?  Some say so

There are still mudslides in Ciudad Vieja when it rains extra hard during the rainy season. Some things never change in this little valley and I  feel drenched in the culture, history and lore of this place...mysterious, thick! I can ¨physically¨ note the heaviness of the atmosphere that includes memories of the past: tragic, honorable and/or grand or bad. Sometimes I feel the presence of the passionate, and often desperate, lives led of those who have come before us. Is it my imagination?  I don't think so.  

This morning Juan Carlos lit another votive candle honoring the life of a friends mother who recently died.  The journey continues...may she rest in peace and rise in Glory.

Pedro Alvarado, Conquistador, 1st Governor of Guatemala

(The World around me continues to astound me)

to be continued