I've been quiet since I returned from Guatemala as I have wanted to digest all of the emotions and images that resonate within me after such a special and profound trip. There are those that need immediate attention and have to purge their every thought and feeling even before their suitcases are unpacked. I am not one of them. I have enjoyed going quiet and ruminating these last few days.
My trip is mine and mine alone.
I share bits and pieces of my inner life when I moved to do so. I savor everything in my world like a fine wine, a good man or the deepest darkest chocolate on earth. It takes time to peel away the layers and go deeper...
I am thinking now of the women I met on this trip. I often write about the power of the feminine and the women that I have met on my journeys who have been kind and generous and lovely to me. I write about my men too, but that it different. They are beautiful as well.
I think of beautiful Paula who I met at my hotel, Casa Cristina, and how her generosity of spirit allowed me to enjoy just being girly and playful and then hunkering down to get to the grit, the meat and the root of things. She read my cards in our hotel lobby the night before we both left and there is not one thing that she said that did not have an impact on me or ring true. I am wearing the silly folk art bracelet that she and I both bought, the one with all of the religious figurines and I am not remotely religious, and it reminds me that the power of friendship, whether it be old or new, is quite remarkable. I miss her like mad.
I am thinking of Deet, the 71 year old bundle of energy who hurled herself at me on her bike and literally picked me up and offered to show me around town as she had moved to Antigua some 14 years before from the US and was doing massage in town. For a mere $13 I got the best hour long massage at her very humble studio/house to the sound of the pouring rain and classical guitar and she became both a mother figure and a friend that day and I think I needed both. She made me homemade soup and snow peas with pesto and we ate crackers with mustard, drank tea and talked about lovers and life and everything delicious in between. I had dinner with her and another new friend the next night at Travellers Menu (the plate of the day is utterly fabulous and so inexpensive) and I will always remember sitting on that bench in Plaza Mayor and eating ice cream cones (mine was pina colada dipped in chocolate with nuts) and watching the people go by, just the two of us. Perfect.
I think of Nancy who met me for breakfast (she is the friend of a friend who is another divine woman) and how we got past the initial weirdness of meeting a stranger for a meal by talking about all of the Hollywood people we could think of with bad plastic surgery. We laughed like mad hyenas in the street as we walked after our breakfast. She then invited me to her house for tea on my second to last day there and we ate banana bread from the best bakery in town and had really good tea with milk and she showed me her wonderful home.
I think of that lovely moment when I realized, as I stood there at the Fotokids exhibit at Casa Santo Domingo Hotel, the one that Nancy had invited me and Paula to, that all of the women I had befriended in Antigua were there in that one place and I got to have a sweet moment with each one of them that night. Women are complex and divine creatures. Put us together and we can make amazing things happen.
I also realize that I got to witness a wedding, a funeral and a Quinceanera when I was in Antigua. I got to see so much life being lived, celebrated or mourned there. I realize that I have learned to open my eyes wide when I travel so I won't miss anything. I have become my own camera.
Just some thoughts for now. I am still quietly digesting...