journal entry, 25 December 1987, from Morélia Michoacán México

“In the Old Style” says Winnie in Happy Days: I lit a candle and meditated in the Virgin of Guadalupe chapel of the basilica—wax melts, fire evaporates.  I kneel my profane carcass before a symbol of pious devotion, reminding myself I can expect nothing, but only reaffirm my humility and gratitude for life: Gracias a la vida, for time in a labyrinth well spent, thanks.  And for all those people of faith who have that constant recourse to their despair, how I envy you!

(later)  The sigh, the rush of emotion, the incredulity over the physical presence of the book that had transcended the material world into that of the mind.  The book rests on the table; it should burst into flames, disintegrate, cede to its violence of ideas, power of language.  But it is still there, with its library code on the cover which, after the passage of time and its accompanying sobriety, will guide it back to its place on a shelf.

(10:30 PM, Morélia)  For once I can congratulate myself for la buena suerte; old infidel that I am, nuestra virgen de Guadalupe is watching over me.  After all, had I not arrived at the Pátzcuaro bus terminal by nine o’clock, I’d have had the rude surprise of having to do Pátzcuaro-Morélia-México D.F. at a much later and more aggravating hour.  Ah, the adventure of travel!  Having one’s bus stop at a filling station en route, and back-tracking to Morélia in order to get to México D.F.  Of course I’d have never thought of it, and of course no one at Flecha amarilla could have told me that when I bought my Pátzcuaro-México D.F. ticket.  The moral of the story: Always get to the station two hours ahead of time in México (and two days ahead of time in Tijuana!).

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