An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of November 27, 2011
Issued fromHacienda Chichen Resort adjoining
Chichén Itzá ruin in YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

REVOLUTION DAY IN PISTÉ

REVOLUTION DAY IN PISTÉ

Last Sunday when I biked into Pisté to roam backstreets looking for interesting plants and to buy fruit I found a big parade taking place: It was November 20th, Día de la Revolución, Revolution Day, commemorating the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910. Above you can see my tourist snapshot of kids dressed up as revolutionaries, the boys with drawn-on moustaches and even the girls brandishing toy rifles.

It seemed to me that the parade less celebrated revolution than it did the kids. A few were dressed in fancy costumes and performed skits from time to time (the ones in the picture suddenly formed two groups, attacked one another, and everyone died on the street), but more typical was the group in which each walker simply carried two red-painted jícaras (traditional bowls made from gourdlike fruits of the Calabash tree) which they clacked together on cue. Not much was expected of anybody, just walk and do the little thing you'd been told to do, and family and neighbors watching along the street couldn't look prouder or more pleased.

It's amazing how expressive kids' faces are. As these kids passed I almost felt that each one's whole future was written in his or her face. I even saw myself out there, a real fat little guy as I was back around 1957, with an expression saying, "I'll be so glad when I don't have to do all this kid stuff anymore... "

Seeing myself out there with that look, I almost wanted to go tell the kid that I understood, but that, really, he needed to lighten up. He had something good going for him right then, his mom still alive, healthy and happy right beside him, and not really any big heartbreaks in life yet, no real big failures, yet...

And that got me thinking about how we tend to underestimate kids. I think that as a kid already I understood the big things I still think of as big. For example, even back then I think I had it figured out that in our world there's a great deal of silliness and waste of human potential, largely because people aren't properly amazed at and humbled by everyday realities, by one another, and by the fact that they are alive on Planet Earth, right now.

At that point, leaning against a telephone pole watching it all, I almost forgot about the parade, getting lost in philosophizing, in head-talk. It was the fat kid when he looked over and saw his mom, and smiled real big, who pulled me out of it.

It was nice seeing those kids last Sunday. I hope their revolution works out.