Noche Buena

Christmas Eve 22:27. Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico.

It’s a blessing and a curse not to have access to the internet… it’s Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) and I feel like calling all my family and friends. If I did have adequate access, I’d probably be on the phone, perhaps reaching five of the twenty-five angels flying around in my head tonight. Instead I’m bleeting an open letter, which has it’s pluses. I get to tell a story that will go down in Christmas history, well technically.

Today I scaled 1400 year-old Mayan temples on a tour of four sites along the Ruta Puuc, most notably Uxmal here in Yucatan province. As I peered upon the past and imagined an entirely different civilization, my heart fluttered between awe-filled curiosity, inspired by the vestiges of the Mayans’ marvelous accomplishments, and my home. Acutely aware that, around the same time in another dimension, the halls of my father’s house were being joyously decked, punctuated by the five-courses of our traditional Christmas feast, my tummy growled. As my mind was in active transport all day, I merrily blasted-off from atop 100-foot pyramids into the lovingly crafted place that is home, to the heart-space created by its million timeless details that have always defined my Noche Buena, a swirl of kitsch, light, smell and devotion, dependable and inimitable. Like my Mayan journey, I enjoyed it in imagination as well as spirit, satisfying both the day’s task of adventure as well as celebration.

Skyping from an internet cafe when I got back, I caught the whole crew still together, and we had our now token holiday chat, but somehow the verbal teleportation didn’t go as well as my lucid dreaming, and I came away feeling a bit melancholy. It wasn’t missing them, as I’ve overcome the emotional pitfalls of displacement from those I love. Rather I came away with an odd sense that I’ve gone awol on them. Perhaps it’s because I was so close to home all summer, or because I already visited them there today (as the waking Ghost of Christmas Past) and I could feel my own absence in the house (as the skyping Ghost of Christmas Present?) I wonder if they felt as haunted as I did.

El Castillo (the Castle), Uxmal
El Castillo (the Castle), Uxmal
on top in Ek' Balam
on top at Ek' Balam
Casa de Tortugas (Turtles House), Uxmal
Casa de Tortugas (Turtles House), Uxmal
Giant iguanas everywhere at Uxmal
Giant iguanas everywhere, Uxmal
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