We left early, just as the sun began to peek its head above the banana leaves. Little girl’s eyes were barely open as I buckled her into her car seat, her bears and dollies and books cradling her every side.
“Uh huh, we’re going to a new home now, far far away. Close your eyes now baby, go to sleep. Mommy will take care of you.”
She smiled and held her bear tight.
The tires grumble over the cobblestones of my Sayulita home. I wave to store owners sweeping the sidewalk, to early risers waiting for rides to work, and with a deep breath, I breathe in the scent of the sea, of frying meats, of eggs—awaiting. My windows are open to take it all in. I don’t want to miss a thing.
The wind from my Mexican sea licks my tears. It sets me free.
Soon we rise up into the winding jungle hills, the birds and wildflowers giving smile but no more than my favorite roadside altar…candles lit for loved ones, for dreams past and future, for hope and love and peace. They all live there, oozing from its seams. I feel the magnificent beauty. And you can too…if you look, then close your eyes, to ‘see’.
Construction workers smile and wave...
the landscape reaches in and cradles my heart…
I feel love around me, all around me. I am love and love is me.
A town called Tepic.
And back on a toll road toward Mazatlan.
I remember the news, the stories…the fears:
“Lots of drug wars there, Brynne. Aren’t you afraid?”
“I would never take my child on such a trip.”
“People are killed there every day. Why drive? Fly.”
“Are you crazy?”
My body tenses. My eyes harden. Until I realize that the poison has started to course through my veins. I breathe it out. Loosen its hold. And find my peace, that place where I am love, pure love, and love is me. And just as I do, I see men with machine guns, flagging me down.
“My friends and family in the United States think you Mexicans are going to hurt me, that bandidos will kill me and my daughter. They said I was crazy to drive all this way. But you know what I told them? That I had angels protecting me and that even if I saw men with guns, I would find their hearts and connect with them there. I told them that Mexicans are good people, that the news makes things look much worse than it is.
By now they were nodding in agreement with me. I was being heard, really heard. And I felt no fear. I was being love and love was returning to me.
“I would like to show my friends in the United States that even if you have guns, you still have hearts, and not little hearts, either. Big hearts. Hearts that truly care. I want to show them what good people you really are. May I?”
“Yes, yes. We would like that. Tell them that we are here to protect. Not to hurt. We are good people, not like the news says. Tell them, please.”
I leave exhilarated. No poison fear in me.
I am love and love is me.
* * *
I pass beautiful scenes so few will ever see.
Fields and forests and bits of the sea.
I meet people in toll booths, connect with their hearts and each time I drive away, I feel my heart grow.
Mexico is heart-centered.
Colorful and kind.
She feeds me in ways my birthplace has not. She opens doors and secret passageways to hidden rooms in my soul. She is simple and genuine and perhaps more authentic than any land I have ever known. Driving her roads, a mother and my precious child, I bathe in her magic as I bid my temporary goodbyes.
I am love and love is me.
Just as you are love and love....is you.
* * *