Being Country Bred
by Mary Oliver
Being country bred, I am at ease in darkness;
like everything that thrives
in fields beyond the city’s keep, I own
five wooden senses, and a sixth like water.
These things I know
before they set their mark upon the earth:
chinook and snow,
mornings of frost in the well, of birth in the barns.
think not to confuse me with poems or love beginning
without a sign or sound:
Here at the edge of rivers hung with ice
spring is still miles away, and yet I wake
throughout the dark, listen, and throb with all
her summoning explosions underground.
This is “Veggie Patch”.
Available with other handspun yarns at feyfound.etsy.com.
a sale section in my etsy shop.
check it out! more to come!
Been waiting at the top of those stairs for a while, eh.
Let us head on down.
There’s Logan in front of me. I lost count at over 100 stairs. Below looked to be…
foundations of dwellings. I didn’t see signage anywhere. Of course the jungle was busy trying to take it back.
Logan and I poked around for a bit and then he spotted an open wall-tunnel doorway. Usually these doorways are closed up.
This was once a tunnel that ran along inside the wall. I let Logan go in first.
Nothing but some empty niches. Logan mentioned something about body part storage and we left. The air was different down there, heavier and older somehow.
Back up above we wandered slowly, getting tired. Harvey and Fiora rested on the stairs just outside the ancient ball court.
The ball court. You know the one where they had big stone hoops around their hips and and to hit a hard rubber ball with their hip stones into a hoop. Sounds easy right?
The hoops, or goals, are gone but the the court was lush.
By this time it was around 10am. Tourists were arriving by the bus load. We knew our magical time there was up.
We headed back up to the main area and I realized we needed to take our proof-we-were-here pictures.
Logan took one of Harvey, Fiora and I:
and then I snapped one of Logan:
Palenque is truly a beautiful site. I highly recommend this one, as it is small, easy to see in about two hours and the natural beauty is stunning.
Every so often we get to stop and see something amazing on the long drive home from the Yucatan.
This year we decided that the lure of ruins…Palenque…
in Chiapas, was too strong to resist.
We asked our friend Jen about a place to stay near Palenque where we could have the dog. Many hotels in Mexico don’t allow dogs. She suggested an interesting, er, settlement, if you will, just outside the gates of the archeological zone. Her exact words were “hippie enclave”. We knew we’d be right at home.
Called “El Panchan”, it is at the foot of the road to the ruins. A rutted dirt road leads you into the jungle and several sleeping and eating establishments.
A small river winds through the area, full of black fish.
Did I mention the jungle? Yes, this area is all jungle. Turn your back and it creeps up on you.
We stayed at Margarita and Ed’s. Ed lost his battle with cancer a few years ago, but Margarita is still keeping the place going and we greatly enjoyed our traditional palapa roofed huts. With HOT WATER. Delicious.
We ate at the large on-site restaurant called Don Mucho’s.
They serve everything from traditional Mexican to pizza and calzone. Live music at 8pm on a wildly painted stage. Groovy man.
At 4 in the morning the howler monkeys woke us.
“Aw,” you say, “Monkey alarm clock, that is so cool!”
No, it isn’t. Have you ever heard a howler monkey? At 4 am? In the dark? In a grass roofed hut with nothing between you and the dark jungle but screens and fabric curtains? HAVE YOU?
Okay, I admit, I had never heard a howler monkey before. Never. Not even on the National Geographic channel.
I honestly thought something … something large and feline and very, very, VERY hungry was coming to eviscerate and eat us.
So. Yeah. Here is a youtube video link to howler monkeys.
I hope you can understand my discombobulation and eagerness to get up and out of there and up to the ruins.
Thankfully the ruins open at 8am. We were there with bells on at 7:20. (Just so you know, when you buy a ticket to get in, it is good for the museum down the hill as well. Be sure to visit the museum. Many of the precious items and carvings (stela or stelae) that were uncovered at the site are located in the museum.)
Here’s Fiora at the entrance, telling me that the sign is in “English, Spanish AND Maya Indian!…wait, and something else?”
Parts of the Palenque ruins date back to 226 BCE (Maybe earlier? Depends on which research one reads.) but it seems it was most happenin’ during the 7th century. A medium sized site (as compared to Uxmal or Chichen Itza) it is easily explored in a couple of hours.
Sadly, The Temple of the Skull and the Temple of the Inscriptions were behind tarps and yellow tape with seemingly endless maintenance.
Logan and I were itching to climb. But we had to wait.
The area was all ready abandoned when Spanish explorers hit the area in the 16th century. The local Maya called the area “Otolum” which means “land with strong houses.”
Amazing carvings on the supports.
All the buildings have signs in English, Spanish and the local indigenous language with the history and names.
See that jungle in the background? Guess who was up in those trees, howling their little furry faces off? The monkey talk reverberated out and over the ruins all morning.
Logan and I couldn’t wait to climb up these stairs. Templo del Conde, so named for the Conde/Count that stayed in the building in the 19th century. Nice penthouse.
A better perspective of the long climb.
Behind this set of buildings…
…two green parrots flew up from below, right at my head. I was the only one who saw them, unfortunately.
We are up high!
Okay, only about 750 above sea level, but still. Higher than we are used to here at the beach.
Just below this set of building, Logan and I found a set of stairs.
Where do they lead?