We roused ourselves at 4:55 yesterday morning to make the six o'clock bus to Mexico City. I am starting to enjoy this voyage as it crosses mountains and desert and savanna. On the way to DF, I finished reading a pretty junky mystery, but on the way home, I found myself glued to the window as the dry colors of the landscape, the fields and grassy plains and mountains whirred by. Between DF and Puebla on the west and Perote on the east, much of it is austere and majestic. For long stretches here are no power lines or road cuts, no houses, no factories. In the distance, an occasional pueblo lays thrown against a hillside. Towards the east, ribbons of green, where crops are irrigated, startle one's sense of place. The palette should be shades of brown and gray, and black often lurks. I sometimes wish I could memorize how it looks, glue it in my brain to retrieve it when I want to, to make it eternal, but I can't. Photos don't do justice either. I can just look and wonder.
The first time we crossed this landscape was perhaps twenty five years ago. At that time, after the bus left the then-broad roads of Mexico City, I remember driving on two-lane highways, going through downtown Puebla and finding ourselves on I think unpaved or terribly paved road as we turned on the western side of Cofre de Perote to head northeast towards Xalapa instead of south to Orizaba Cordoba . I don't remember many trees. My memories may deceive me. Today, however, the trip is mostly on smooth, seamless four lane highway that is unmarred by the clusters of commerce and shaved strip that marks so many freeways, even here in Mexico. There are increasing numbers of trees, their branches and needles and leaves a green-black in this dry season, I think the result of Mexico's reforestation efforts. They sometimes seem to be on the march, these trees, spreading down from the sometimes close, sometimes distant hills and mountains.They grow even in the midst of some of the dusty ploughed fields.