memories all mixed up in the
fragrance of roses,
my mother and i traveled to mexico city
to the basilica virgin de guadalupe.
fittingly the hotel was once a convent, our room a nuns cell,
a single bed, penitence hard.
by morning we were on a
a local bus, 20 pesos to fulfill a dream.
chattering uniformed school children filled the isles,
mothers wrapped in rebozos cradling babies,
everyone curious with the two gringas
smiling radiantly on their familiar ride.
as we arrived;
one hundred hands folding origami
peace doves in thin air.
we left the bus together,
a cluster of bright flowers thrown into a sea of devotees.
under the weight of 12 million worshipers a year,
Templo Expiatorio a Cristo Rey,
built between 1503 and 1709,
began to sink
...and in time a new basilica was erected.
as we wove our way silently inside the concrete walls,
my heart sank.
courting a vigil that bowed back
over five hundred years
i was not prepared for the carpeted,
ultra modern cavernous interior...
replete with moving sidewalk to glide each pilgrim
as if walking on water
beneath the most revered ancient textile in mexico.
yet, as we passed directly under the sacred cloth
there was a presence and peace that transcended all time.
yet it was when we walked the ancient cobblestones
around the enormous basilica to a small,
humble stone chapel that my heart flooded.
here, juan diego lived out his entire life,
speaking of the virgin
to anyone who would lend an ear.
men and women paused
to carefully pluck one petal
from the enormous bounty of roses
spilling over a life size statue of juan diego.
they would hold the delicate cup of pink
to their lips while they prayed.
a flame of devotion, filling the tiny vessel.
when their prayers were exhausted
they took the infused petals
and rubbed them in utter adoration
over juan diego's marble
heart, mouth, eyes.
imagine, being painted with prayer infused rose petals
i still have my small paper thin petal,
curled like a tiny fist holding tight
shrine from the series of
vintage silver tray, glass, solder, paint, gold leaf, found objects
welcome to day eleven of the
may you carry the rose of compassion close to your heart.