Thirty Minutes of Something Wonderful
13 February 2015
January 23, 2015
It all began with a walk.
It was only our second day in Barrancas, but because they had called for rain and it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere with nothing open, we decided to move on to Creel one day earlier. All packed up an ready to go, we still had several hours before the arrival of the train, so we went for a walk. And the dogs came with us.
It was a quiet neighborhood walk. We passed a church, some homes, and a Tarahumara Indian woman. She was dressed in their usual costume; a hand-sewn skirt, peasant-like blouse and shawl that combined a colorful mix of prints, along with a kerchief on her head. She didn't smile. It seems they rarely do.
We passed a house where two men were skinning a cow under a thatched carport roof. It was an odd sight. An upside down cow with his legs pointing straight into the air, as if he were frozen solid. Maybe he was.
I think we all thought twice before eating meat for the next several days.
Then we ran into a man sweeping the street in front of his house. This is a common thing in Mexico; people sweeping their streets.
“Hello! How are you?” He said in perfect English. “What are you doing? Where are you staying?”
“Walking.” We answered. “We are staying at Hotel Mansion Tarahumara.”
“Where are you going? What have you seen? Have you been on a tour yet?” He was full of questions.
We just stood there, shaking our shoulders, not really sure why we hadn't gone on a tour.
Then the sales pitch. A good one, too. That is when we decided to go with Rogelio – right then and there – for a two-hour tour. We said goodbye to the dogs and jumped into his truck.
He took us to Divisidero and to the national park where we were able to walk the edge of the canyon. It is here we saw The Balancing Rock and The Three Canyons overlook. We also crossed a suspension bridge. But the most spectacular moment awaited us on a far-away cliff, across the canyon.
We were standing on top of a mountain. Actually, a massive rock-face protruding 2,000 feet into the air. It's circumference was no more than a football field. We arrived here via gondola, courtesy of Barrancas Del Cobre, a company that offers these rides along with zip-line tours. (One zip-line goes 80 mph!) The views were breathtaking, of course. As we made our way to the edge of the cliff, we met our first Tarahumara Indians.
There were a few women, scattered about the area, selling their wares. They were in traditional dress. Some, like the woman in the photo above, had children tied to their backs or their bosoms. She also had a young girl huddled close. The woman sat very still, very quiet, never smiling. She watched us out of the corner of her eyes as her husband picked up his self-made violin and began to play.
It was a surreal moment; two thousand feet in the air, overlooking this deep fissure while the Indian man performed a few songs for us. They were beautiful tunes, almost Celtic in nature and left his fingertips and bow to be carried by the wind throughout the canyon. And then he began to dance.
Time was suspended as we were mesmerized by the sights and sounds of this moment. It was one tiny, rare, insight into the culture of the Tarahumara Indians and we were honored by his performance.
It's funny how “thirty minutes of something wonderful” can happen when you least expect it.
(More photos in the gallery.)