By Joaquin Hawkins
Why is it that I, indeed many others too, find comfort in a country older than mine, in an alien culture? What is there down Mexico way that beckons the heart and mind? (For me, one reason is that I do not need to continually spell, pronounce nor explain my first name.)
It could also be the intoxicating food and music, or the old and fascinating architecture of the pre-Colombian peoples, merging with the Moorish influences from Spain. It could also be the musical rhythms of the Spanish language as spoken by the descendants of yesterday´s “conquered” Mexicas.
Or the appealing weather and comforting sun, the hot mineral baths, the fragrant aroma of citrus and flowers, the bounty of bright flora that dazzle the eye, or the splendid vistas of the varied landscape.
Every time I arrive in Mexico, I experience a slow release of the stress and tension that have built up north of the border; ills and scars that envelop me like shrouds. Here, people are quicker to smile and offer their hand in friendship.
The Land of Mañana flows at a slower pace, and I have long tired of the incessant hurry-hurry of my job with the U.S. Postal Service. After thirty years of this, my “springs” seem on the verge of snapping.
How I yearn to back off, wind down, and pursue other interests. Mexico´s quaint rural life offers me that. The mix of burros, horses, roosters and church bells seem to bring with them the serenity from another time.
Of course, Mexico is not Utopia. No place in the present world is. Perhaps we had one long ago in the Garden of Eden, but we didn´t do very well there, either.
What Mexico does offer is the chance to go back in time, bow out of the hectic mainstream of humanity, kick back and enjoy life at a more comfortable pace. This helps to refresh, not dehydrate, the soul.