I started to run for exercise and drifted away from Tai Chi at La Ceiba Gráfica at the hacienda La Orduña. I have told Martín Vinaver, the Tai Chi instructor as well as one of the two founders and leading lights of La Ceiba Gráfica that I would return if he gave evening classes. But running has it all over Tai Chi for me, at least now while I can still do it. I actually relish it all the while I cringe at the pumping of my calf and thigh muscles as I start out. I drop my shoulders and inhale and feel my ribs spread. It feels like work, work, work, until I see a woman with a huge stack of wood on her head. Then it doesn't feel like so much work. I wonder what these women think of the gringa running because she wants to (or at least because her doc told her to) and not because she has to in order to cook for her family. Jim says he has to pay attention to the running. I don't pay such attention. I'd rather be slow. Daydream. Notice the birds, the egret that bursts out of the grass, the weird underwater sounds some make, the vultures silently slipping across the sky. Exchange greetings with families walking to San Marcos or other crazy people running or the ice cream man making his way to Ursulo. Or smile at the boys in baggy pants who suddenly grin and say "¡Animo!" And watch the flowers change from week to week. Or say "Adios" to the men leading burros and horses with wood stacked so neatly over their backs. The dogs trot with me, usually Jocko and either Happy or Rita, Happy being a bit lame, Rita, old like me. Jocko is just slow. He trots majestically until he decides not to. He just stops dead in his tracks. Then he slowly walks to the edge and sniffs and pees or ambles to the middle to take yet another dump. Elegantly.
We turn around after a mile. On a hot morning I don't feel the breeze going up. I just feel the heat. But after we turn, the breeze sweeps across my face and glues my damp shirt to my chest to cool me. At the bottom, Jim takes all the dogs and I pretend I can actually run a bit faster. He still speeds past me. Finally he reaches the end down at the river. The dogs run down and get wet and quench their thirst. Finally I join them and we pile into the car and head home.
Yes, there is junk on the road. Plastic and styrofoam from comida chatarra, junk food. Too much. Our colonia is immaculate. At leaast once a week a row of women go up and down the streets sweeping what housewives or those who work for them missed. But that road, cars can whiz down it and toss their stuff. And there's nobody to pick it up. I think everyone is waiting for the downpours of the rainy season to wash it away.
Sometimes I think visitors from the States will notice the garbage first and maybe not even see anything else. That would be very, very sad indeed.
Anyway, coming up, a visit to La Ceiba without taking Tai chi.