Andar tras Mesoamérica . . .
By the identical cousins Daniel Charles Thomas
Links we have found in our andar tras ancient America scattered below between pictures (we edit & took UNLESS otherwise Credited their sources):
disculpe que el español sigue en construcción sin revisión
-- Ay Daniel tú y tus capitales indigenas -- una vez sentí esa voz que me habló. Fue una de las raras veces (aparte de sueños) que palabras alcazaron a la mente ya completamente formadas como Atena. No crecidas en ramos de laurel del pensamiento de Apolo ni distiladas como el vino de Dionisio, no, estas palabras lanzaron de repente, como susuro insospechado, directo a mi conciencia.
"Oh Daniel, you and your Indian capitals," I once felt a voice say to me -- one of the rare times (outside of dreams) that words sprang into my mind fully formed like Athena. Not grown on the laurel branches of pensive Apollo thought or distilled in Dionysian winevats, no, these words leapt suddenly, as an unsuspected mutter, direct into my consciousness.
-- Ay Daniel tú y tus capitales indigenas.. -- Me chocó. Normalmente la inspiración sentía mas suave, subiendo lentamente desde emoción y sensación hasta una construcción verbal. ¿Pero de donde llegó esta voz tan bruscamente?
"Oh Daniel, you and your Indian capitals." I was shocked. Normally inspiration felt far more subtle, rising slowly from feeling and emotion into verbal construct. What was this sudden voice?
"Oh Daniel, you and your Indian capitals...." no, they were still there. All seven of the words. Exactly seven. Just like the other time thirty years later after Carmelite relics on Hawley....
Or maybe it was identical cousin Michael who had actually spoken, long before I finally met him here in Tijuana?
Whatever it was, it spoke from me thirty years ago on that day I first discovered photographs of Yagul, Oaxaca, in the Grossmont College library. I have never forgotten the phenomenon. Had just spent a week reading slowly through Fray Diego Duran's Historia de los indios de las islas de tierra firme, tales of the Aztecs' history and mythology as they told him them. Now I was taking a break and looking through a picture book. Had just discovered a city I'd never heard of before, another gem in the crown of knowledge. Yagul. I hungrily ate the photos, crumbling walls, dry hillside.
I was young and twenty and already suffering from my own sugar mountain, almost two decades of personal obsession with things Maya, Toltec, Zapotec and all those many other precolumbian mysteries and wonders ooo eee ooo Earth to Ixtlan, come in, Daniel, over?
I still sip nectar there.
That day I looked up from the book, exhausted from eight days of long hours reading and gazing, overloaded with legendary Aztec data followed up by the elegant patios of Yagul, the fortress hilltop, other sister sites of Dainzu, exile from Monte Alban in the face of Mixtec incursion, and then, WHAM... I felt the voice, sighing, from my ancestors and ancestresses, "Oh, Daniel, you and your Indian capitals...."
("Well, will you pray with me, then?") [Yes, of course I will, sister T.] 7+7=14.
Religious liberal writers simply note that Elliot, Tolkein and Lewis were all Christians, too.
But what, meanwhile, was my earliest memory of this Mesoamerican madness delighting my soul?
Fourteen years before the patios of Yagul would awaken the first blatant whisper, I saw a photograph from the pyramid of the sun in Teotihuacan. I was seven years old, sitting on the living room floor of Woodland Drive, reading volume M encyclopedia our parents bought that year my brother was born.
And there it is: nopal, burro, holy mountain. "Mama" -- I said in loud wonder and delight -- "there are pyramids in Mexico?"
"Yes, Daniel," she answered, sewing in the dining room around the corner, "and one day you may go see them...."
Pppprrrrrrrcccchhhhhhatterchatterchatter chatter chatter went the sewing machine. Maybe even then she was putting in lables on blouses she and her friend Dean Gilchrist sold for a group of Tijuana seamstresses. The UncleSam customs agents at the border had demanded they put in lables. Made in Mexico.
Those were also the years she was studying Spanish with Dean and other ladies in a class taught by Raul Rosado, who was going to law school and would later become a judge who married my first wife and I two decades later. Those same early years when I discovered there be more than one language in this world, and that, too was the meaning of Mexico to me, child, was, am.
So that was how I saw the pyramid of the Sun and when I began to see and understand something deeper about the other world that began right here in Tijuana to the south of my dreams, twenty miles from our little house on the hills of La Mesa, San Diego... and how behind & within that greater Mexico of Spanish and horseback power was another, older, lost world of ancient wonder and stone age ruins. And pyramids, yes, pyramids, Daniel. Aum day you may go see them....
This kid with my little plastic Cowboys and Indians; I didn't play cavalry and redskins, no, I played Spaniard and Aztec, Moctezuma and Cortes, even before I learned how to spell their names right to the shores of Tripoli, yes, I was taken.
Built pyramids of stones and sand in the yard and hung sacred gongs from old metal coffee-can lids in the trees above the tiny canyon creek leaking out from Mount Helix reservoir (1927). I built a small three-foot long dam with little lake and canal and causeway and dreamed of Tenochtitlan and Motekujtsoma Xokoyotsin....
No. Even I find it hard to believe. But it was true.
And it still is true. Now more than ever. In my head the waters are flowing. Time to travel and read and write it all for the cyberworld. This is my quest. Behind my love for Mexico is altogether another world: the ancient, autochthonous mystery Anáhuac Mayab et al that tourists drool over Teotihuacan MonteAlban Palenque and the ruins of roasted Chicken Eatsa heh heh ji ji hee hee je je Chichén Itzá....
It's an entire civilization, and it still exists, silently waiting in the ancient marketplace, wrapped up in Spanish blankets, digesting you every time you eat a tamale -- un tamal -- or nibble on a corn tortilla. There you are. Chocolate. Avocado. Turkey. Coyote. Those are all Aztec words. Tlatoa Mexicatl.
I am gone. Definitely gone.
A number of hyperpaths follow me here.Andar tras Mesoamérica -- Going after ancient America.