The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Semana Santa - The Procession of Silence

One of the high-points of Semana Santa, Holy Week, is the Procession of Silence, late in the day on Good Friday.  This was the 32nd in what has become an annual tradition and one of the most popular, as thousands of people, both local and tourists, gathered to line the procession's route. 
It is another of Oaxaca's special moments and filled with wonderful sights. 
Every year the procession is a little different and this year we noticed that there were many more women in it.
And many in stunning indigenous clothing. 
And even though it began a bit late, the whole event seemed quite well organized and seemed to go off without a hitch, although we all had was a bit of waiting time.
The start time was 6:30 PM and the light had pretty much faded by then, but getting there early allowed us to get some shots. 
The various groups began to assemble under cloudy skies with a just enough rain to try to keep things covered and dry, including both spectators and participants, but the rain passed.
The whole atmosphere is one of seriousness, of reverence and at the same time,  uplifting.  People take their religion very seriously here and one can see it in how they approach all of this. 
Lots of the platforms they carry are quite heavy, the strain on their faces, the steady, but occasional stagger in their steps, and all in silence, just the sound of a drum beating once every minute..
No better example of people's dedication and commitment than the hooded men who drag heavy crosses down the cobblestone streets.
And of course people watching.
A celebration providing much food for thought and for the soul.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Carrying the weight - San Antonino

I keep thinking about the men who carry the heavily laden statue of Christ on His Burro in San Antonino Castillo Velasco on Palm Sunday.
The weight must be incredible.  I know part of Oaxacan life requires strength whether it is carrying bags of cement, garafons of water, boxes, bags, cases of beer, many heavy things, and often on their heads.  I guess I marvel at them because, I don't think I could do much of the work they find normal .... and I'm pretty strong.  I'm not sure I could ever do anything like this.
However, wow, I just can't imagine being in this group of men carrying this immense load.  The strain on their faces clearly shows that this is a very serious commitment.
 I wonder as to why each man takes on the challenge, perhaps, devotion, dedication or penance.
And this 61 year-old gentleman does it every year.
Be sure to check out Shannon's post  over at Casa Colibri about the event.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

San Antonino - Palm Sunday - Domingo del Ramos

"I think there's a burro somewhere in there."  Palm Sunday in San Antonino Castillo Velasco is easily one of the best places to be to begin Semana Santa.  In a nutshell, the people from the village bring the statue of Jesus on His Burro from the church to the cemetery where they cover the statue with a couple of tons of fruits, vegetables, bread, and herbs.  Then, they hoist the covered statue on long poles and, about twenty of thirty men, carry it back to the church.  It's pretty amazing and always an honor to see it and drink in the power of the moments.  Here's the burro just before he gets covered up.
The work continues....
It's a joyous occasion as folks bring their best fruits and veggies... and pigs, chickens, bread, chiles, on and on, all to be carried back to the church to be sold to raise money for the church.  It is always fun and fascinating to watch the assembly.  The first few layers....
Everything is tied down and laced together.  Nothing ever falls off.  Obviously, the weight is more than I want to even think about.
Ready to head back to the church
More on the procession and the faces of the people involved in a bit....

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Getting ready for Semana Santa

This coming week is one of the most important in the year, Semana Santa or Holy Week, and folks are getting ready.  As they do every year, people from the CaƱada region of the state set up in front of the cathedral to sell their hand-made religious items, many of which are made from palms.  Sales were brisk for Palm Sunday tomorrow.
Like many thing Oaxacan, it's an art,  I love how people can carry on conversations and business, all the while continuing to weave and work their magic.
They also make things out of dried materials, too.  I love the spirals.  I have a couple of them.
It's another one of Oaxaca's many traditions that continues year after year, but.... when one stops and thinks about it, it really is special.
Tomorrow?  San Antonino, claro!

Hiatus over

Well, it was nice, and perhaps, necessary, to take a couple of weeks off from blogging.  A tabula rasa, cleansed by a quick trip to Boston, where I got to experience three Nor'easters....
Actually, it was nice to experience winter.  The New England's seasons are so different from those here in Oaxaca.  And that ain't all that's different.  A market visit last week in Chinatown...
And now back to this in Etla.
It's a bit surreal, but that's not a bad thing at all.  It's good to be back.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Another Viernes in Llano

Once again, as on every Friday during Lent, Llano Park was the place to be, as another school celebrated their young ladies with music and flowers.
Because the schools are different each week, the celebrations are different each week.  This was a much smaller school than last week when the place was packed.
So a bit more subdued, but still fun and so nice to see people having such a good time.
It started bright and early in the morning, just after 8:30 and once again, the musicians were ready to roll.
And of course, some heart throbs looking fine.
The stars of the day.
And lots of flowers.
As always, classic Oaxacan beauties.
Two more Fridays left.... Be there or be square.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sky's on fire...

Red skies at night? ... the dry season is in full stride. It's quite warm and the sun feels like it is intensifying with dramatic sunsets almost every day.
My entrance way with its protections... The Virgin facing out to keep me safe and El Diablo to keep me company.