Las piedras en México tienen historia. They’re jagged and rough. Shapely in all sorts of colors and sizes. Smooth to the touch. Rough to the grasp. Sturdy. They tell the story of generations gone by, of old men playing their instruments and singing their música de vara, of old women walking by at the dawn of early morning, wrapped up against the cold in their rebozos, always in pairs, with their pails of fresh corn, heading to the molino, of huaraches de piel walking alongside mules, sheep and all sorts of other assortment of livestock, of children running to take care of mandados, of young men with their alcohol and cigarettes, laughing and carrying on, of young women giggling and smiling, trying their best to be proper while the objects of their affection walk by, of young boys and girls escaping from school, marching to the beat of el himno de independencia on Independence Day, of so many cousins showing us how to get from one place to the next without ever being seen.
That’s what I remember in those rocks.
I imagine Mamatule and Papanino, my grandparents, sitting at the front of their kitchen, wrapping up their tobacco in corn leaves, smoking it ever so peacefully in the dead air and silence of night, my father as a young man courting my mother, the young girl from Monterrey who showed up at the rancho every couple of months with her padrinos, wearing nice dresses and sensible shoes. Shoes, in this place, where most girls walked around barefoot. I imagine their conversations. My mother playing hard to get, stern and dismissive, measuring every single one of her expressions ever so carefully, a half smile here, a look of agreement there, my father unrelenting, with his big smiles and nice words, staking out her every move from the tanque where pigs swam around to get refreshed and people carried pails of water to heat up for their baths, and slowly winning her over, one platica at a time.
I try to envision our land before the casita de escobas, that’s what they called the firmer shrubs they used to fill in the gaps between the frames of wooden sticks in those days, before the first room of cement blocks went up, when it was up to the people of the pueblo to decide whether the newly-wedded couple of my parents deserved to have this empty section of land donated to them, and then when they were there together for the first time, what conversations they might have had, what first moments they might have lived, welcoming my eldest sister, their firstborn, and then the ones that followed, the decision to leave home, first apart, cada quien a su tiempo, and then together, all of us together.
And I’m inspired.
It was there we began our journey. The only place that ever felt like home, where even though it wasn’t my precise history that took place, it called out to me, made me feel one with the land, with the air, with the water, in a way that I’d never felt before. Our apartments, houses here were mundane.
Those piedras, majestic. Respectable. Ours!