Gateway to Mexican Visions

MEXICO, land of contrasts.

And complements.

Tree and broken stucco mirror each other's shape. Do these forms, like Africa and South America, echo millenia of continental drift?

Cared-for tree, broken wall.

Gardener and mason.

The gardener has just stepped out of the scene to get water; the mason is long gone, his labor crumbling but still functional, his rough clay bricks almost primordial.

In the center of the scene, a painter has tried to defy poverty and the passage of time. He has dash, verve; he has whited the mortar in its web-like pattern; that and the delicately lettered plaque say, "This is not a broken-down place, this place is loved."

One supposes the newly exposed bricks will be given an ocher wash like their older exposed neighbors.

Age contrasted with renewal.

The mental exercise of studying relationships becomes a sixth sense that permits us to hear church bells above or through the smoky, ceaseless roar of traffic in Mexico City; that sees such grace in displays of fruit and vegetables by farmers on street corners - meticulous little pyramids of bracing reds and oranges; that feels the ancient tension between the Latin and the Mayan - more assimilated than comparable races in North America, yet held in a curious, inimical equilibrium.

"First resident" and conquistador.

Nature and contrivance.

Reality and myth.

These complements go beyond the classic sense of contrast in photography - light and dark - though there's that in this photo, too. Mexico's light is heat, and dryness, and altitude; the dark is shade, and humidity, and dreams.

Like this wall, Mexico's facade is also gateway, passage to new visions.

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