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PLACES I WANT TO GO

Cindy Maddera

There is a village in the middle of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Preserve in Mexico. Angangueo is the name of the town. It’s about a three hour drive west and a little north from Mexico City. We’ve been watching One Strange Rock on Netflix and this village was in one of the episodes. Michael and I have both been staring at the screen while this documentary plays with our mouths agape and eyes wide in wonder. You would think that we were too old and slightly jaded to be wowed by the images and knowledge presented in the documentary, but nope. The excitement and wonder I feel watching this is not unlike the very first time I looked at pond water under a microscope.

It’s like wow! - Beck

Any way…episode 10 talks about home and life and death. It is a beautiful and important episode to watch, but the moment my breath caught was when they focused on the town of Angangueo. Every year the town celebrates The Day of Dead, like all of Mexico, but here the celebration also happens to coincide with arrival of the Monarch butterflies who migrate to the preserve for the winter. The butterflies are like the souls of the peoples’ ancestors and loved ones returning to visit

And I want to go there.

I want to wander down the cobblestone streets and explore old cemeteries and churches. I want to buy armloads of marigolds to leave at every alter and watch as the monarch butterflies float down from the sky to rest on the bright orange flowers. I want to have my face painted and I want to record all of the beautifully painted faces I see. I want to take Chris’s ashes there and set up a small alter surrounded with marigolds and street tacos. I want to hike deep into the preserve to see thousands and thousands of butterflies. I have already started checking into costs for flights and hotels and car rentals; making plans for maybe next year. I’ve become obsessed and even emailed one of graduate students who is from Mexico City with all kinds of questions.

Maybe some times I see this space as a place to make wishes come true. If I type it here, then I have to do it. It kind of makes me think of my old bucket list, how when I had it posted up here, I did stuff on that list. I marked things off the list. Then I changed, my life changed, and the list didn’t reflect all of the things I wanted to do any more. Well…truthfully…there was a while where I didn’t want to do anything any more except drool on the couch. I don’t know if I’m ready to sit down and re-write the 100 Things To Do Before I Die list. That seems like a bit much right now, like I’d end up reaching for things to do just to write the list. But Angangueo during the Day Of The Dead celebrations?

That’s happening.