Sights for St. Valentine’s Day

imageThese are white goats, not sheep. The rams had long grey horns, not tightly curled but twisted close to the head and then jutting out. We saw them just outside a rather touristy sea-side town. The shepherd looked like a professor of philosophy with his grey beard and stick. He nodded gravely when we asked if we could take a picture of his flock but his black and white border collie fixed us with his steady eye as if to say, “Take your silly picture, but if you go near even one of them, you’ll have me to deal with!”

The other wonderful thing we saw yesterday was a hoopoe, quite close up. I have learned not to fumble for a camera when a bird or a fox or anything that might take flight is the wonder of the moment. I just look and look and afterwards I can find a picture and read all about it. How I remembered this was a hoopoe, I cannot tell. Please take a moment to look for a picture and you will see why I was so enchanted. This pinky/brown bird, about the size of a small pigeon sat beside our car and he very politely unfurled his crest of black and white and then flew off as we gasped at the beautiful patterns of his wing and back feathers. Wikipedia says he was the messenger to King  Solomon about the Queen of Sheba so seeing him was a fitting end to Valentine’s Day.

Reflections on Valentin’s Day

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Mexicans love celebrations.  Now that Canadalaria is over ( the old Candlemas, or Presentation) it was time to turn to Valentine’s Day.  I saw many people walking around with bouquets of flowers, modest or extravagant and everywhere in the town were huge bunches of helium balloons, most sold by youngsters.  I read somewhere that over half the Mexican economy is ” informal”. What an innocent word for child exploitation, poor wages, lack of security or rights.  St. Valentine had nothing to do with bouquets of flowers or chocolates but with blood and martyrdom.  You could call it ful-on love…total sacrifice for the other.  Mexicans with their unflinching celebration of death add a new layer to a consideration of love.  Love is exhilarating, joyful, warm, of course, but tears have watered many a bouquet.  Longing, heartbreak loss are part of it….despite what Hallmark would like us to believe.  That red heart has to be strong and never falter.  Mexicans have Frida Kahlo for that…so I declare myself her disciple.  Let love spread out like a drop of blood in a glass of water.