Thursday, February 27, 2014

It Could Have Been Friday the 13th


La Danza de La Pluma en Teotitlan

  It Could Have Been Friday the 13th
               (a true story involving Teotitlan, dedicated to Richard Enzer)   
                                                 by Mitzi Linn

It seems like a long time ago that this all happened, in a fabled land called Xaguire.  There, for awhile, Time and Space intertwined with each other, meandered together along the river in Teotitlan del Valle.  They paraded along the town’s earthen paths and cobble stone streets, greeting the gentle inhabitants with kind words beginning with familiar “zaa” sounds.  They seemed like novios laughing secretly together. They stopped alongside the creek to kiss deeply for the longest time.  Their brown innocent faces smiled at the Sierra Juarez rising north above the hills on which the Pueblo rested.   Along the shady paths they heard the shuttle of  foot looms, weavers were making beautiful serapes and tapetes to sell to tourists wandering around in their dreamland. 

When they got tired of walking they decided to fly up to visit the cave of Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, hidden under the pointed top of Gi’Bets, the sacred mountain.  They recalled millenniums of people living down below along the river. They counted the little corn fields, with their rock walls and copious flowering trees providing shade along the pathways.  All seemed tranquil, all appeared to be in its own place and its own time.  They sighed, making love, and disappeared into the clouds.

Enter  Quetzalcoatl himself.  Quetzalcoatl is said to have visited the Oaxaca area sometime in the mythic past. He passed through the area exiled from his original home. He gave up being the ruler of Tulan, leaving in shame after he was deceived into breaking a taboo by Tezcatlipoca, his brother.  Tezcatlipoca  (Smoking Mirror) and his followers wanted to introduce human sacrifice to the worship of the Gods.  Quetzalcoatl was against it.  Indeed it’s said that he only wanted sacrifices of flowers and fruits of the harvest, that he was against harming any creatures.  When he saw his people turn to worship his brother and sacrifice humans, he left.  

Traveling through Meso-America, he taught arts, agricultural and cultural skills and his peaceful vision to people in various places.  One of the Quetzalcoatls, the God’s priest or incarnation, is said to be buried under the more than 2000 year old Tule tree in the Oaxaca Valley.  That’s only a stone’s throw from Teotitlan.  It’s not hard to imagine him meditating in the cave under Gi’bets, or visiting the temple beyond it. 

After spreading his vision through Mexico,  Queztalcoatl arrived at the coast of  Veracruz and disappeared into the morning star.  A long time afterwards, Hernan Cortes arrived at the same place off the coast of Veracruz on the exact day and year predicted for Queztalcoatl’s return.  The Aztecs feared that day when Quetzalcoatl would reappear. It was predicted to be the end of their empire.  And so it was. The Zapotecs, Mixtecs and many others joined the Spanish to help destroy them. 
Enough of the myth/history.   Enter now my friend Richard driving on the paved road into Teotitlan one Friday morning in the 1990’s.  In front of him a large serpent was crossing the road.  Most Teotitecas (people from Teotitlan) went out of their way to run over these striking creatures.  They believe that serpents portend bad luck,  a result of the Catholic mythology they had to adopt when Hernan Cortes and the Dominicans arrived.  Many have forgotten the Feathered Serpent was a beloved being, part of their ancient belief system.  Some no longer remember the legend of Quetzalcoatl and that the cave on Gi’bets belonged to him.  

Richard, an American rug designer with shamanistic and mythological tendencies, saw the beautiful snake and stopped his Volkswagen van to watch it disappear into a campo.   It was Altagracia who later told me about this. Her comment was that she knew something bad would happen because Richard didn’t kill the snake. It’s likely she said that to Richard too, though he might have just nodded and considered it another local superstition.  He was more interested in the dyed wool hanging on the wooden railings near Alta’s dying vats.  Richard’s company, Line of the Spirit, used a rich color palate that was mostly red, indigo blue, gold and white.  Occasionally  turquoise or dark green found their way into the designs.  Alta’s family worked for Richard along with Sergio and his brother Cosme.  Richard and Sergio worked out designs together and then had other weavers make the rugs.  Sergio’s family loved Richard.  He’d lived with them over a couple years according to  Sergio’s mother.  Their work together brought this family a certain level of prosperity.  

The Line of the Spirit rugs never hung in showrooms to be sold in Teotitlan.  These special rugs made of thick, hand-spun wool from Chichicapa, then dyed with Swiss-made aniline dyes, found their way to upscale American markets.  Richard had once sold Persian carpets in New York, then worked with an expert in wool dying in Taos, New Mexico.  He studied the designs of the Navaho.  Asuncion, Sergio’s mother, said she thought he learned to dye wool in Teotitlan with Zacarias Martinez or Pedro Guttierrez, both masters in the dyeing process.  I don’t know eactly how he came to live and work in Teotitlan but he arrived in the 70’s.  He learned many new things from weavers in Teotitlan whose weavings predate the Navahos by hundreds of years.  He also taught them things he’d picked up in his studies and in his work developing new methods, designs and color combinations while living in Taos.
I first saw these amazing tapetes(weavings) in photos Richard showed me as we flew out of Oaxaca on the early morning flight in spring 1988.  I’d met both him and Sergio at El Sol y La Luna Restaurant just the night before.  The photos of the rugs amazed me.   His combination of color and images delighted me.  We talked about the symbols he used in the rugs, unlike anything I’d seen in Teotitlan. I’d been studying and teaching Tarot and other symbolic systems for more than twenty years.  He felt like a kindred spirit, a brother.  During that hour flight I remember saying to him that I loved Oaxaca and really wanted to live there.  He said, “if it’s your destiny, you will.”  

It was my destiny to live in Oaxaca.  As fate would have it I rented Richard’s apartment on Constitution near Santo Domingo during the fall of 1988.   Sergio and Mito came by to store those beautiful Line of the Spirit rugs in the extra bedroom before shipping them to the United States.  Richard left to sell the rugs in Santa Fe, Taos and Denver.  Then he was going to Turkey to research making rugs there.  I promised to pay Josefina (the housekeeper) to take care of the house, cover the rent and take care of his place.  I even ended up caring for Noche, his large black Great Dane, who quaked and shook every time fireworks went off.  That was every weekend before Christmas since there is an old church on every block in downtown Oaxaca.  All have their regular fiestas, complete with marching bands, skyrockets, dances and processions often starting before daylight.
His apartment was a great place to live, in an old building close to everything.  Richard furnished the place in tasteful but funky Mexican antiques.  I had everything I needed.  Josefina turned out to be a jewel though I barely spoke Spanish at the time.  I paid her the same as Richard and asked her to come only three days a week.  We became friends as time went by.  I had the place a few months before Richard reappeared.  

Richard came back in late January with his Italian girlfriend, Lilia.  They stayed out in Teotitlan at a house he rented there.  I knew I could not live with Richard and Lilia so I set out to find another place.  First, I went to have a chat with the Virgin of the Rosario in her gold leaf chapel at Santo Domingo. I went on a Monday, saying I needed to find another furnished apartment by the next Monday.  Something for around $100 USD per month.  I sat there entranced as her image seemed to float out and hover in front of me.  I trusted that she would attend to my needs. 

That Saturday around noon I ran into musician Paul Cohen at Bar Jardin on the Zocalo.  He mentioned that he was leaving for the States the next day.  He came and went frequently back then and thought he might want to come back to his apartment in May.   I told him I was looking for a place to live until May.  Well, his apartment was available as a sublet.  Several people said they wanted it and he was waiting to hear.  I said I could give him three months rent in travelers checks. He promised to come by Richard’s to let me know before going to play at El Sol y La Luna that night. 
Around eight o’clock Paul knocked on my door.  I’d gotten the apartment. Then we headed over to El Sol y La Luna on Murgia where he played saxophone with Mescalito, a mostly local group of jazz and Latin jazz musicians.  I danced with other like minded rumberos  during their sets of Cuban music.  Richard and Lilia arrived and joined me at my table.  I told them I would move out the following Monday. 

After moving to Paul’s I found myself in new role with Richard, that of healer, counselor and friend.  I hadn’t realized that his drug of choice had been heroin since his stint in Vietnam. It was the first time I had ever worked with anyone addicted to hard drugs.  Heroin was hardly available then in Oaxaca so he drank alot of Cuba Libres.  Or mescal, that smooth, liquid God of agave that permeates the fiesta life of Teotitlan.  We worked on his emotional issues around addiction.  Richard had a kind of larger-than-everyday-life personality,  something like a movie star.  Charming and charismatic this blond, blue-eyed, creative, party-loving American always had a girlfriend and usually an entourage of friends.  He sometimes lived in a party scene that  went on for days which I avoided. In spite of his partying,  Richard worked hard in Teotitlan.  

As part of Richard’s healing process, and for the adventure of it,  I dreamed up doing a full moon ceremony at Monte Alban.  I convinced Richard and Lilia that we should do it that spring.   A friend of Richard’s who once sold jewelry outside the ruins at Monte Alban happened to come to town.   Alberto knew the night watchmen and the Monte Alban scene, so he came along  arranging our safe passage.  We bribed the guards and their dogs with a bottle of mescal and a roasted chicken from the first Pollo Brujo in Colonia Reforma.  It had been dark several hours when we left the city and drove to the mountain top ruin.

Monte Alban, begun in at least 500 BCE, occupies a leveled mountain top south of Oaxaca city.  It has many layers in its physical structure and energy complex.  The north and south pyramids have been restored along with major temple complexes, an observatory and ball court on the main plaza. 
This ancient sky city is impressive by day when you can see the Oaxacan valleys a couple thousand feet below and  watch clouds hurry across the sky.  Now the full moon bathed it in a magical shimmer.  Different temple complexes perch on the edges of the huge plaza.  Behind them, the earth drops away down the mountain, giving one the impression of floating in another realm.  The night amplified the sensation of being in deep space.   City lights twinkled like earth stars far below.  I often visited the mountaintop ruins in the daytime to meditate and to dream.  Being there gave me vision, insight and healing in my own life.   I usually went to the pyramid in the middle of the plaza to meditate.

The moon was high in the sky when we four got to the middle pyramid structure in the main plaza.  We used one of Richard’s rugs to sit on.  We improvised an altar and used an incense burner to offer copal incense to the directions and the attendant spirits.  We smudged ourselves with the copal, and sat in silence.  Following this I led us in releasing negative qualities from our lives by burning small bits of paper to signify each thing cleansed.  Sitting in silence again, the moon drenched night enveloped us.  We then lit candles evoking love, peace, harmony and healing for all beings.

We ended the ritual by making sounds.  I toned while Lilia created a dance on top of the ancient pyramid.  Richard and Alberto beat out rhythms.  Time and space merged.  Finally, we thanked the spirit beings who’d been attending, descended the steep steps and finished the ritual by walking around this middle pyramid three times before exiting the plaza.  As we rounded the south end, we encountered five young Europeans who’d hidden down below the plaza when the ruin closed at 5 PM.  They’d heard our sounds and wondered....?  Tripping on LSD they thought  we were the Ancients’ spirits. 

Getting back to the Friday that could have been the 13th.  I was out in Teotitlan wandering around.  I had hiked part way up Gi’Bets to meditate.  I love that mountain.  My presence in Teotitlan was a kind of mystery since I wasn’t a rug dealer.   I was noticed though.  One man said upon our meeting, “oh, you’re the one that meditates up on the mountain.”   Some people thought of me as a curandera as I tried to help relieve pain through hands-on energy treatments, massage and often just listening to people’s problems.  Many times what I could do helped.  I felt grateful to be trusted and accepted in these ways in the Pueblo. 

I remember walking along a back street that day, and running into Richard and Sergio in their van.   Richard was livid, showing me a weaving of Line of Spirit design which he found hanging for sale in a weaver’s house on the main street.  This was not a weaver he worked with.  He had yanked it from the wall, declaring that his designs were not to be copied by anyone.  Sergio had waited in the van outside.  They were on their way to make a complaint at el municipo,  the government, at that moment.  That afternoon when Sergio returned to pay the family for the rug, no one told him that a warrant for Richard’s arrest was in the works.  It was already too late to stop legal proceedings that began taking place soon afterward Richard’s alleged assault on Soyla, the woman from whom he’d taken the rug.

Soyla declared that Richard shoved her and stole many rugs.  The gathering that produced the demanda  (warrant) for Richard’s arrest probably took place in Edmundo’s patio.   The lawyer, one of Arnulfo Mendoza’s brothers, drew up the legal document.  I can imagine the glee some were feeling at being able to finally “get” pinche  Richard.   Soyla’s uncle, as part of the municipal government, had had to chose to believe Richard, a foreigner, or his niece.  He agreed  with others that Richard was lying.  Richard was to be arrested for stealing and battery, and put in the town jail.  None of us knew about this until later.

A number of Teotitecas probably had grudges against Richard for past pecadillos. (sins) Well, Richard probably did some things that caused these bad feelings.  He also had the audacity to send the Line of the Spirit rugs away so they couldn’t be copied in the village. He was a foreign designer with a business exporting high quality weavings.  I’m sure this didn’t sit well with the rich, traditional Zapotec wholesalers at that time.  As a designer Richard’s actual influence on rug making in Teo is substantial.  There’s a colorful book called  Zapotec Weavers  in which this is documented, and where one can see some of Richard’s designs as well as tapetes by other notable Teotiteca designers and weavers.

That day I don’t remember thinking that anything would come of Richard yanking the rug from Soyla’s wall.  I spent the afternoon with Sergio’s family learning some Zapotec words from his nephew Claudio who was five years old.  His father had moved to the United States leaving Claudio and his brother Angel to live with their grandmother, Asuncion.  Asuncion, a short, traditional Zapotec woman with her hair braided in ribbons, usually wears the traditional women’s costume, an embroidered blouse, plaid wool skirt and bright pink sash. Communicating in our various ways over the years, we still always laugh about Spanish being each of ours second language. Her first is Zapotec.  I used to sit on a kid’s chair and visit while Asuncion and Tomasa  (Sergio’s first wife) made tlayudas over a fire on their comal. (a large round flat clay grill)

Visiting with them often while they made the daily supply of tlayudas  (plate sized tortillas) seemed both like a familiar everyday event and an exotic treat.  These delicious dinner staples started as corn kernels boiled with lime and soaked overnight.  The women kneaded the dissolved corn kernels from a runny paste of crushed kernels into a dough, siphoning off the corn juice.  They used a mano, which looks like a rolling pin but is made out of stone.  Working in tandem while kneeling on woven mats (petates) , one rolled out the corn dough on a metate,  with a heavy mano .  Then the other patted the dough into a large thin tortilla and laid the uncooked tlcayuda  carefully on the comal  balanced on three rocks over a small fire.  There it baked, turned by their nearly scorched, but expert fingers. 

I tried the routine more than once.  Those manos weigh a ton.  We laughed together about how inept I was.  We laughed about many other things as well.  Sometimes we cried together too.  Sitting in their patio on a kids chair, being included in their lives, and eating those tlayudas  fresh from the comal  gave my spirit a new lease on life.

Now to snake our way back to the main theme.  Richard had invited me and his many other friends from Oaxaca as well as all the weavers and families he worked with in Teotitlan for a barbecue at his place in Oaxaca that Saturday.  This fiesta was in honor of his French daughter Rebecca’s birthday.  She and her mother were visiting for a month or so.   Altagracia was going to barbecue some young goats.  After they were blessed and killed, their bodies would be baked with many tasty herbs and chilies in a deep pit overnight.  The meat comes out extremely tender and tasty.  It was going to be a Teotiteca fiesta at his new home on Pino Suarez. 

I guess the first thing that went amiss in Richard’s patio that Friday evening had to do with the young goats and Alta’s teenage son Jose.  It seems he was playing with the chivitos  (little goats) and fell from a balcony onto concrete below.  Rushed to the hospital, Jose had a concussion.  He recovered fairly rapidly but this certainly put a dint in hardworking Alta’s party.  

I arrived at Richard’s barbecue Saturday afternoon.   Along the bamboo fence/wall sat the women of Teotitlan, many with their trensas  (braids with bright ribbons woven in) wrapped around the top of their heads like crowns.  Some wore their black ikat rebozos as head dresses, like turbans with the ends draped across their shoulders.  They looked like a line of Zapotec royalty,  reminding me of stone carvings and clay statutes of their ancestors.  In true pueblo custom their husbands sat across from them against a white wall.  Each wore his fedora  (felt hat) in his own special way.  I went over to greet Asuncion and Tomasa and the other women.   A man served us mescal.  Toasting “salud” I downed a shot.  I returned the glass which he presented full again to Asuncion.  “T’chi ve’o”,  she offered the  Zapotec toast making a sign of the cross.  I shook hands with the entire line of women and their husbands. 

Sergio was talking to Richard in the living room when I walked in the house.  Most of the city friends sat in chairs and on the sofa.  I greeted Julietta and Rebecca.  Josefina gave me a plate of food.  I don’t usually like goat meat but Alta’s tasty barbacoa  changed my opinion.  The party went on with everyone talking, eating, drinking.  

My ex-husband arrived with his girlfriend who lived down the street from me.  He’d come to Oaxaca to live also.  I wasn’t sure he wasn’t following me.  My Oaxacan friends thought so.  I couldn’t figure it out.  He was downright friendly that afternoon though he often pretended he didn’t know me. After eating and visiting awhile inside, beer in hand, I went back outside to the patio to get some fresh air.  I wanted to be with Asuncion and Tomasa and the Teotitecas. 

At some point I noticed that Miriam arrived.  She worked as liaison person and secretary with Line of the Spirit.   She seemed very serious.   She and Richard disappeared into the office together.  She came out a little later without Richard.  I went over and asked her what was happening.   Miriam had gotten a phone call for Richard at her house.  Micheal, Richard’s 22 year old son, had died instantly in Denver late that Friday night after crashing his motorcycle, head on, into a cement wall.  Drugged or drunk, he was trying to ditch the cops.  Micheal was a  troubled and flamboyant young man.  He’d been in Oaxaca visiting recently. 
I found Richard in his office.  What does one say on these occasions?  I put my arms around him as Julietta, Michelle, and other friends came in.  We all held him and each other.  Those of us who knew Micheal entered a state of shock.   As it got dark we started asking most people to leave, explaining the circumstances, that the party was over.  Most of the Teotitecas had begun to leave before dark anyway to catch the last bus home.   It started raining lightly.  I remember Sergio and his family leaving pretty upset.  They considered Micheal a part of their extended family.  Asuncion was crying.  We were all in a state of disbelief.  Now what?  

Micheal’s funeral would be on Monday.  Richard had to be in Denver by the end of the next day.  Miriam made plane reservations for the Sunday morning flight north.  At the house Michelle Tommi and I transformed the party into a wake for Micheal.  We made an altar with his picture and began a process of saying good-bye, praying for his soul’s passage, lighting candles, and consoling Richard.  The living room glowed.  I got really tired and needed to go home.  Many others kept Richard company throughout the night. 
Josefina, Richard’s devoted housekeeper, stayed too late to catch her bus to the distant colonia where she lived.  She had known Micheal well and was pretty upset.  She is such a caring person.  I sat with her, holding her hand.  When she needed a taxi to get home, I gave her my last pesos.  Later, I walked home alone to the Colonia Reforma, a mile or so after midnight.  My black ikat rebozo wrapped around me felt protective. I never felt afraid walking in Oaxaca at night.  I promised to return early Sunday morning to see Richard before he left.  I got back just in time.  It was a hard morning.

Monday I headed out to Teotitlan as I had planned.  I got on my favorite bus,  “Amor Sin Palabras” (Love without Words) still mulling over Micheal’s sudden death and Richard’s problems.  As we headed out along the Pan American Highway I looked at the Sierra Juarez from the bus window.  The bus was noisy with young people on their way back from school in the city.  The driver played a tape by his favorite musicians.

As I got into Teo I stopped at Sergio’s uncle’s house on the outskirts.  Andres was an eccentric master weaver.  I’d met him and his wife Anita at Sergio and Tomasa’s civil wedding years before.  I often stopped to say hello.  They seemed more impoverished than others I knew.   When I got there,  Anita was home alone in the kitchen.  She asked me, her eyes dancing with glee, if I’d heard what happened to Sergio?  Well, no.  It seems he had been arrested on Sunday by the Teotitlan government and put in the town jail, for stealing rugs and assaulting the woman who owned the rugs.  O my god.  Sergio arrested!  I was flying out the door. 

Anita’s happiness astounded me.  I couldn’t believe someone could be so happy to have a nephew arrested.  I left her kitchen and have never gone there again.   Anita held a grudge against Sergio for not giving her rides into town when he passed by, he explained later.  She always gossiped and he really didn’t like being with her, so he never picked her up.  
The next place I went was the Montano house and restaurant, El Descanso.  They said Sergio’d been arrested because they couldn’t find Richard to arrest him.  He’d been put in the town jail.  Sergio was taking Richard’s place.  Now there’s real tribal/ Zapotec justice.  Perhaps they also told me that Sergio had been transferred to a jail near Oaxaca with serious charges against him.  This sounded very dangerous to me.  Human rights are disregarded in Oaxacan jails, and anything can happen.  I ran out of their patio and hurried out to Sergio and Tomasa’s house at the foot of Gi’bets.  I needed to see if I could help or what was being done. 

When I arrived at their house Tomasa told me that Miriam had been working on getting Sergio out of jail, getting a good lawyer and preparing to pay the usual bribe.  Miriam grew up in Oaxaca, in a family of white Oaxaquenos who knew everyone, including the judge.  Knowing the right people is always considered a plus in Mexico.  Another of Richard’s friends, Rafael, was helping.  Also a white Oaxaqueno he had many contacts in the Judicial System. 

Ah, Rafael.  I remember meeting Rafael at Richard’s a year before, and thinking he was a mal hombre , though I couldn’t figure out why I felt that way.  He was quite charming.   Pablo, a jazz musician who grew up in Oaxaca, told me Rafael and friends are part of the Oaxaca mafia.  Sergio never believed that Rafael could be part of the mafia when I mentioned it years later.  He had helped rescue Sergio and done them other favors.  Rafael’s wife Lupita had a dance studio where I took flamenco lessons.  At some point my American flamenco teacher got to be friends with Lupita who wanted to divorce Rafael.  She reported that Rafael threatened to kill Lupita daily   Lupita was afraid to flee even to the US because he would send someone to kill her.  I had gone out to dinner with all of them, Sergio, Richard, Rafael, Lupita, and others a couple of times. I had no idea what was going on.  

By that Tuesday night, thanks to everyone’s efforts, Sergio was out of jail and back home, sick from drinking bad water. He’d been beaten up.  Needless to say on Wednesday, when I saw Sergio and Tomasa together I got more of the story.   Line of the Spirit bought the copied rug,  paid a fine and now waited for Richard to return in a couple weeks.   Sergio wasn’t angry at Richard.  But he developed a healthy distrust of some of the other people in the pueblo. Some of the very people who drew up the demanda (warrant) for Richard’s arrest, and then had Sergio arrested instead, have on-going bad feelings with Sergio’s parents.  An ancient land dispute between neighbors.

We were all curious just how that rug got to be copied anyway, since these designs were secrets, woven by a group of more or less loyal weavers who didn’t show their weavings to others.  The rug that caused all the turmoil was copied from a rug Richard had given his lawyer in Oaxaca.  She had a copy woven in Teotitlan.  As for trusting those you should be able to trust?  I don’t want to appear cynical but.....In Mexico, it is always best to wait and see just who can be trusted and who for la envidia, (envy) will try to destroy you, while greeting you with a kiss.

After Richard got back from the funeral in Colorado he realized that his working collection of photographs of rug designs was missing.  (The ones he’d shown me on the plane)  He couldn’t remember where he last saw them.  Had he left them on a table at El Descanso?   Or had they been lifted from the seat of the van, parked somewhere in the village?  He didn’t know,  Sergio didn’t know,  Miriam also had no idea what happened to that stack of photos.   Richard’s rightful paranoia was that many copies of his designs would start appearing in the homes of weavers along Avenida Juarez, the main thoroughfare of Teotitlan.  Then the other wholesalers would also produce them en masse and this would make his expensive Line of the Spirit rugs alot less valuable in the American rug market. This never happened in a big way though rugs with symbols and in styles first used by Richard and Sergio are seen.  Altagracia, who still dyes wool for the Line of the Spirit and sells her barbacoa  at the market in Teotitlan on Sundays, explained that many weavers don’t really want to do the kind of intricate, non-linear designs used in those weavings.  
Now to weave in a few other loose ends as this tale winds down.  Richard sold the Oaxaca part of the Line of the Spirit to Susanna Starr who owns Starr Interiors gallery on the main street of Taos, New Mexico.  Jacinto, one of Altagracia's sons, now oversees weavers and their work for Susanna. Sergio developed his own rug business turning out creative new designs sold in San Miguel de Allende and the US. 

One time, a couple years later, I actually saw one of the missing photos on the floor of the workshop at another friend’s house.  Nothing on his looms resembled anything of the Line though.

Richard left Oaxaca in the early 90’s, not long after these events.  I think these happenings in Teotitlan helped him to decide to move his home base back to Colorado.  Then, Richard went to Romania to make knotted rugs.  I remember having a dream after Richard left Oaxaca.  In my dream he waved goodbye as he disappeared through a door into a bright light.  
I was happily surprised to see him again in Santa Fe in 1995.  He was showing his new rugs from Romania at Packards on the Plaza.  He’d built a house on some land in Colorado and gotten clean of heroin, and even given up drinking.  I considered this remarkable.  He said that Micheal’s death pushed him to change.  Perhaps his young, pregnant Romanian wife helped also.  He thanked me again for our work together over dinner at a Chinese restaurant with his wife and friends. The beautiful rugs I got in our trade still make me feel wealthy. 

Friday the 13th actually happened last November when I was in Oaxaca.  I didn’t detect anything particularly strange or dramatic.  Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, inspired me to make beautiful paintings and gave me a new career as an artist.  Gi’bets, the mountain at whose feet much of this gossip took place, claims my heart.  Walking on the mountain again last fall, I heard those ancient lovers, Time and Space, singing in the wind.