Our morning began quietly enough. Fill the water bottles, pack up snacks, throw something hot and caffeinated down the gullet, hustle by taxi to the Pemex station. Divvy up into groups (based on destination), climb into awaiting cars, and arrive at the trailhead. Here in central Mexico, a trailhead could be a dirt soccer pitch (with or without players on it), the edge of a muddy field (with or without burros, cows or bulls in it) or a road flanked by abandoned chapels and stone walls enclosing only ghosts and untended corn.
We had elected to walk in the Cañada de le Virgen region, just outside of San Miguel de Allende. There are any number of good walks here and plentiful rains had contributed some lush visual poetry to our view~ soft, woolly fog wrapping the shoulders of the Picachos and mottled greens lying like so many yards of velvet across their hips and thighs.
The high fog and easy incline allow for a cool start. We walk in duos and trios, in genial clusters and meandering lines. Those with a longer gait set a faster pace, those preferring a more solitary experience drop back or wing out to the sides.
My eyes are soon skimming the ground for rocks. One of my sons hands me ever more intriguing specimens of agate and chalcedony. As the light sharpens shy geodes appear, small shimmers in the crooks of cracked open rocks. It requires restraint to load only a few into my backpack.
The first part of our hike keeps us above the canyon. Eventually my gaze is coaxed from the ground to watch the play of light and shadows across open fields and over wooded areas. Music from a distant radio wavers incongruously in and out, conversations ebb and flow. Property is marked by stone walls, scraggly trees and rusty barbed wire. Tan colored grasses are high and pink-tipped in the morning light, waving languidly like so many graceful arms. Slowing myself to the pace of this grass dance, I wonder aloud to a fellow straggler how I might bring these fields into my home and have eternal access to the feelings I am having right now.
His chuckled reply is perfect: ‘You can’t. You have to go into Nature and get it there’. He is so right, and that getting out in order to access it within is precisely the theme revealing itself in all of this summer’s adventures.
(to be continued, as I haven’t gotten to the bushwhacking yet…)