- Foreground to the Dream (actually lived-in-waking scene):
It is my second day in Mexico. I had only seen this country once in Tijuana almost a decade before just for the afternoon. It is now December, 2008. I am staying weeks in Mexico City. I find myself within the confines of a Zapatista demonstration. We de-board a small local bus, I let a young mother with her child climb out before me. She is dressed in perfect fashion to the trend of social and cultural resistance that has taken places since before the states of Mexico were founded. The atmosphere is young, vibrant and inclusive as I file past a scattered group of policemen, barred from entering the demonstration grounds as per an agreement with the Zapatista movement. The area attracts a united front of Mexican youth and longstanding social activists with the international community, mostly young travelers like myself in happenstance with a resonant ground of truth-seeking and decolonization. After perusing various photo exhibits, circus acts, a music stage and a gargantuan round of booths and cultural presentations from social activist groups, indigenous peoples and the Zapatista themselves, I find my way to a high-perched bleacher to gather perspective. The landscape is cluttered with the reality of living conditions in the Federal District; over 35 million inhabitants, almost as much as the entire country I had arrived from: Canada. The houses barely top two stories as they create a vast landscape buttressed on hillsides in the myriad colors so peculiar to and likeable about the Mexican cityscape. Two Mexican guys decide on sitting only a few feet away from my high vantage point. Laughing, they start lighting a pipe. Marijuana smoke lifts into my nervous system like a cool breeze. I smile at them. Offering me the pipe, I smoke and there is an immediate realization at how strikingly different we are. The only similarity between us three is slight laughter and comraderie of place in this fleeting instant. A mixed, flowing cacophony of sound travels into our minds, bespeaking the slogan of the demonstration: Digna Rabia/Dignified Rage. I hear the Mexican language. Completely unknown to me at that pont, I am enthralled by its fascinating brevity and speed of intonation. At this point I am very high. I look out towards the mountains. In the foreground is an immense statue. How could I have not seen this before? It is a human head. I point to it and look at one of my new friends. "Benito Juarez!" He says indiscernibly, with a thick accent only spoken to someone ignorant of Anglophone ears. I am bewildered by the voice from a peer of my equal age. He knows I don't understand, "Benito Juarez!" he says again. This time I understand. An early President of Mexico. His face becomes as strange as the thickness of his accent. I am taken by his features, which seem to resemble Aztecan myth in their distinct expression. They step down, leaving me to contemplate my surroundings high up above even the neckless head of one of the country's sculpted, public icons, high above the Zapatista demonstration, high above my own mind.
In Dream: I see from this vantage point. The head of Benito Juarez is changed to my imagination for the ruins of Teotihuacan. When I visited Mexico for the first time (and all subsequent times) I never took the chance to see the ruins of Teotihuacan. The grandiose pyramids depicted in the film, "Frida" and Sergei Eisenstein's "Que Viva Mexico!" still reside in my imagination. I can see only about half of one rising to its summit. The steps are gorgeously erected with frequent cracks. A massive field stands to its side. I'm sure there must be pyramids greater in size. In the field, walking in an easterly direction towards what seems to be greater pyramids, what I sense to be a female figure, wrapped in a scarlet shawl slowly walks into an unforgiving wind out of sight.
My backyard gives way to a mythical Mexican beach
In my family house backyard in Massachusetts, I sit with my friends. There is great emotion rising unto the visible empyrean gazing back at us as a smidgeon of existence in the universe. I am with old childhood friends, we trek through my backyard, and their presence is exchanged with that of my cousins. We walk until a downslope hill flushed with a sludge and grime unknown to us. I feel it half-resemble a part of the Tar Sands in Alberta somehow. The endless sludge gathers and quickens below our feet. One of my cousins slips clumsily and knocks into an evil-looking man who seems to hold an authoritarian position with the environmentally hazardous work about us. He eyes me vociferously, changing to a stern, violent expression of cruel intention. He speaks that he will ruin me if we cause any hindrance to his work. He says that he will make my position in Canada even more tenuous and that I will risk my marriage and rights to immigration if I, or any one I know slip up again and cause more trouble. I simply slide past down an aching earth, bleeding with tar.
Next I find myself walking along an unpaved beach sidewalk in a seaside neighborhood. Broken shells lay scattered on the road. As a group of local residents approach on their way inside a house, a mythical deer shoots past me. The animal bears an impressive mane, looking like a cross between an alpaca, a mountain goat, a deer and gazelle. The animal joins its herd, trekking about nimbly. As I follow the unusual herd of unidentifiable animals beyond the horizon, the land opens up into a huge Mexican beach resort. There are electronic billboards littering the oceanfront, as international commerce is exuberantly exhibited with dominance. I duck past the hill's outcropping before the steep cliff turns into beach and follow the animals in a small grove. I feel submerged in a temporary refuge.