Dancing shadows and mesquite trees

A twenty minute cab ride north of San Miguel, on the road to Atotonilco, there’s a stand of towering mesquite trees set back up against several plowed fields. Sprawled out under the mesquite like an old hacienda is a restaurant that’s at least partly aimed at kids. One of the huge mesquites plays host to a towering tree house and there’s plenty of open space to let the kids roam.

treehouse, mama mia campestre, near san miguel de allende photographed by luxagraf
Ribs at Mama Mia Campestre, San Miguel de Allende photographed by luxagraf
Some come for the playing, some for the ribs.
tree house at mama mia campestre, near san miguel de allende photographed by luxagraf
mama mia campestre, near san miguel de allende photographed by luxagraf

Prior to coming down here I thought of mesquite trees as smallish shrubs that occasionally, with the right blend of soil, water and light, sometimes make it to tree status. In the United States that’s a fair characterization. Our mesquite are not big trees. Here they soar like oaks.

I don’t know if perhaps the trees here are a different species or if they just like it better down south. Whatever the case, the mesquite down here can grow into huge canopies of green that can shade you from even the intensity of the midday Mexican sun

The midday Mexican sun has become more intense lately. The dry season stretches its legs and lays down across the land, pulling a blanket of dusty haze over it. I don’t know where it comes from, I don’t even know what it is, perhaps it’s the wind out on the plains kicking up dust. Perhaps it’s smog drifting up from Mexico City. Perhaps its the endless construction in town. Whatever the case it’s bad enough to burn the eyes and lungs some days and anything we leave outside soon has a thin coat of dust on it.

Between the dust, the sun, and work I’ve been spending more time around the house, indoors even, than I have in years. I don’t like it. We get by, we have fun. Elliott and I try to get outside on the roof in the afternoons.

Blowing bubbles on the roof, san miguel de allende photographed by luxagraf
Some times you get a haircut between photos.

Still, there have been days where I’ve felt like I was living in some taco-filled version of Plato’s cave, watching the shadows on the walls all day. I go up to the roof sometimes after the kids are in bed and try to feel like I’m getting out into the light, but it’s usually just leaving.

I want open space, clear air, room to roam, a horizon to stare at, silence to listen in, rain to fall, but it never does, there will be no rain for at least another month, possibly more.

Corrinne and the kids get out more than I do thankfully. I get to look at the pictures, just like you. One day they went to the toy museum in town.

It looked like fun, but what I enjoyed far more than I would have enjoyed the musem was seeing the kids come home and start making their own toys out of whatever we had lying around. One evening I walked down to the tienda and bought them corn husks which they used to build not just corn husk dolls but whole families with houses, canoes, tikinagans, birchbark houses, and more.

Like all children, they’re much better than us adults at playing enthusiastically with what the world has given them, regardless of what that may be.


Gwen May 07, 2019 at 8:25 p.m.

What does the title of this post mean? Love the kids’ corn husk creations. And what a beautiful sentence— “The dry season stretches its legs…”

Scott May 09, 2019 at 10:47 a.m.


Thanks for the kinds words, glad you liked the post.

As for the name, let me first say I deeply suspicious of English translations of words or ideas for which there is probably no equivalent, e.g. Schadenfreude, of which koyaanisqatsi is very likely a great example. That said, it’s a Hopi word that means roughly, unbalanced or life out of balance. I, and most other non-Hopi speakers, know it because the movie by that name. While it’s not for everyone, I still love that movie and highly recommend it to anyone, though I suggest first researching it a little bit so you know what you’re in for, it’s not a movie the way most of us think of them.

DB May 09, 2019 at 11:54 a.m.

One of the rare times I go into Facebook and scroll my own posts to find this gem as a morning interlude.

Are you back yet? Is the band back together?

You know my number.


BTW: I don’t think the markdown is working properly

Scott May 09, 2019 at 12:05 p.m.


Thanks for stopping by, glad you liked this one.

We are back. In Dallas area right now. I might even have a phone number again soon. I’ll call you soon.

Not getting any bands back together though :)

What happened with the markdown by the way? As far as I know it works, but beyond paragraph tags, I don’t really use it.


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