Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Finding Clarity Along the Way

People have emailed me lately. They are asking if I am OK and why I have not been writing much for this blog.

I am fine, and all is well here in Yucatán.

Travel, unexpected events, lots to do and my changing interests all have contributed to the infrequent appearance of new posts on An Alaskan in Yucatan.

My recollections of the first half of 2013 are a fog. I am not sure where the time went, but I was busy. Too busy. I don't like the kind of "busyness" after which I can't seem to recall what I accomplished, but that's how I spent some months, dealing with details, riding on trains, buses and airplanes, putting out small fires, and waiting around for others to get things done.

I have had plenty of ideas for blog posts. Just now I looked at my drafts, and see that I have started seven different posts since I last actually published one. I keep being interrupted and distracted and can't seem to finish them.

I thought about this as I spent hours in the pueblo of Mucuyche a week and a half ago, waiting for help with my broken-down car, which with eleven years and 100,000 kilometers of use has begun to experience typical problems of age. It was very hot when the car stalled, but fortunately it died in the shade of a small tree near a friendly tienda which sells cold drinks and snacks.

The day started out with the good idea of visiting some friends in Abalá and having lunch with them on Fathers Day. It's a long story, but in a nutshell, we burned a couple of hours waiting for one mechanic who never showed up. Finally we reached the very agreeable and friendly llantero, tire repairman, from Abalá who drove over in his broken-down car with a bucket of tools to see what he could do. Appropriately named Santos (Saints), he was knowledgeable enough to help me figure out that the problem was an electrical short that could not easily be repaired alongside the road. Santos went back to the pueblo and borrowed a long rope (the tether for someone's cow), and very kindly pulled my car at slow speeds all the way to the house of my friends in Abalá. Although we were not able to fix the car, at least it was in a place where it would be secure until I could get someone to look at it the next day.

And that brings us to the young parrot pictured above, which greeted us when we arrived tardy at the house in Abalá. Actually the bird is one of a pair rescued after a nest was knocked down, either by winds or a predator, some weeks ago.

I spent the nicest time I had in several weeks simply observing and feeding this delightful bird, and then eating a home-cooked Fathers Day meal with my good friends in Abalá. Near sundown Santos gave us a lift the four kilometers out to the highway, where we caught a bus back to Mérida in the evening.

It was this day of forced down time spent alongside the road and tranquil hours with friends that helped clarify the facts. Some of my "busyness" is necessary and unavoidable and I'll just have to deal with it. But a fair portion of my cluttered lifestyle is of my own making. I moved to Yucatán in search of a simpler and more fulfilling life, and I have made long strides in that direction. But old tendencies are hard to change and after eight years of becoming very comfortble here I find myself falling into some of the old patterns.

I've been restless and pondering these things for some time, but during this Fathers Day interlude I realized that I am ready to work on changes. I have had in mind this quote from an unknown author:

"Sometimes in the winds of change we find our true direction"

Change is in the wind, and it's hurricane season in Yucatán.

Details to come.

Other related posts:

Contentment: Inspired by the Birds
Contentment: You Get What You Need


  1. Good to see you back. But change is always for the better. I look forward to hearing where the big winds blow you.

    1. Well, Steve, mentioning hurricane season might have exaggerated the magnitude of changes to come, but come they will, storms or not.

  2. Marc,
    I post the least when I am busiest, so I assume the same of other bloggers. However, busy for just the sake of being busy is not good. It's that frantic filling of every moment that I don't think is healthy at all. It's the rare person who can step outside and stop the train, so to speak.It's like people think that if they stop they'll be bored or worse yet boring. I hope that you keep blogging because I enjoy your point of view, but I also understand that you need to do what's best for yourself.


  3. I, too, have felt those winds and they are blowing on me now. Have you ever noticed that Mexican mechanics drive the junkiest, old beat up cars? I think it is because they can and have no fear of breakdowns. Glory to them.

  4. I admire the way you deal with these minor adversities, and even put them to use in tweaking the background stuff. Also - enjoyed the cow-tether tow rope. Sound like life is still providing well enough for you. Glad to see you back still in good shape...

  5. Like Steve, I too look forward to hearing about the changes you make, hopefully as you make them. I am glad you are posting again.

  6. Wow, I clicked on the bird, and saw the enlarged beauty of his honest curiosity, down to the pin feathers, Marc. My goal for today is to be that curious. ~eric.

    1. You sure described the photo of the parrot, Eric! It's "honest curiosity" is perfect. (My African Grey so delights me as well, with the same. Indeed, some animals are better endowed here than some humans. )

      So glad to know you're OK, Marc, and that we can expect more. Gracias! Only Monday I showed your site to my Spanish teacher, who was enthralled by your photos of your "wild neighbors."

  7. Good to see a bit of print from Marc. I like the breakdown story, the rope towing method is a common sight on those backcountry roads in Yucatan.

  8. Lovely. I have now narrowed my things-to-do-and-fret-about list down to such a tiny thing that I can scarcely believe it. This, and the Atlantic article you posted to FB this morning, are great inspiration to me.

  9. Hola Marc,

    I'm glad to hear you are basically OK. I've missed your blog posts, as I enjoy the updates of your interesting life in Merida, particularly the fact that you don't seem to be limited to the English-speaking expat circle.

    Great photo too!


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where our Spring was spent in 'busyness,' but summer's looking better.

  10. Good luck finding that short. A few pennies of electrical tape in the right spot will do the trick, but finding the right spot is the problem.

    How is the roof holding up?

    Robert Gill
    Phoenix, Arizona

  11. A simple thing, like carrying for a bird, can bring us back to center. Looking forward to more news in the future.

  12. I spent a month in Cozumel and will never be the same. Thanks for your writing and insight on living in Mexico. I will return very soon. I loved life there, and am dissatisfied with life north of the border. I want to return to the Sunday night dances on the Plaza, eating lunch overlooking the waves crashing on the rocks, the friendly people, well behaved children, slower pace of life. On my next trip, I intend to visit Merida, and determine if it is feasible to make the move there permanently. It is reassuring for me to read about those who have taken the step and left the security of the same, the familiar. There are a small number of us in the world who feel the same as you, restless, feeling like change is in the air. I feel like that now, and am drawn to the Yucatan.

  13. I hope you took that beautiful bird home... As for old habits, just remember that just because you've changed places doesn't mean what's in your mind has changed too. Somebody said, "No matter where you go, there you are..."



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