Sunday, October 31, 2021

Our Ofrenda

“ The most acceptable offering to God Himself comes from a grateful and joyful heart. " - William Shakespeare 

 As the saying goes, when a loved ones passes away they are, “Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts.” Here in Mexico, where Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a national holiday, it is occasion to remember our departed loved ones in a spectacular way. 
Yesterday, when Amy and I were driving into town we passed fields of flowers bustling with activity. People were cutting and loading armfuls of marigolds and cockscomb into pickup trucks, cars, onto donkeys or simply carrying loads on their back. A palpable sense of excitement is in the air. The smells and colors are stimulating both to the senses and soul.

Everyone it seems, builds an “ofrenda” or shrine to the departed in their home. Also entries to homes and businesses are decorated with flowers. 
Amy and I have built our own ofrenda near our front door in our entry hall. I must say it feels good. When I am near the ofrenda I feel warmth. 

The ofrenda is a portal, bridging worlds. That is its purpose, to reach into another place and open doors of perception. Commemorating spirits gone into the next world, we build our altars of flowers along with meaningful objects and reminders⏤everything to honor souls and life.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Dia de Muertos


Dia de Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” always sounded strange to me; like a zombie movie or something. In English, the word ”dead” has a lifeless connotation. “Day of the Ancestors” is really the meaning. I like that. We honor our ancestors and want them always near us. We hope to have good relationships with our loved ones that have gone before us. So we talk with them. They pray for us and we pray for them.

Seated at our table, (for awhile).

Now that Amy and I are living in Mexico, we are adopting the celebration whole heartedly. Not just as spectators. This year we are making an ofrenda: a home altar with a collection of objects placed on a ritual display during Día de Muertos celebration. The ofrenda is presented to commemorate the souls of loved ones in the family and to welcome them to the altar setting.

Although we are going into our dry season here in Oaxaca, fields of color can be seen. Marigolds bloom to be harvested just in time for Dia De Muertos celebrations. Also Cockscomb with its brilliant crimson color. 

Detail from "Memento Mori" by Steven Boone

Covid precautions are still in place but excitement is building and celebrations will occur. After all, Dia De Muertos is a Mexican national holiday.

Detail from a painting in progress by Amy Cordova Boone

Amy is working on finishing an ofrenda painting. I just finished “Memento Mori,” a painting with the theme of the inevitability of death.

Stay tuned for next posts . . . 

More about Dia De Muertos 

More about Ofrendas

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Bandits on the Road

Trampas, New Mexico, USA. 

 Amy had read of bandits on the roads in Mexico so it was with some trepidation that we decided to begin our journey driving north from Oaxaca to Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. That was over a month ago. We went, and returned the beginning of October with relatively few incidents. One week of our sojourn transpired in San Francisco. The most troublesome occurrences of our trip happened in the States. 

We drove so that we could load some of our essentials from storage in Santa Fe into our car. I have been wanting a desktop computer. The new iMac is wonderful. We don’t have a formal address in Oaxaca to mail order it, so on the way north we stopped in Mexico City at the Apple store. I deliberated buying it on the spot, or on the return. I did not want to buy it in the States because there are charges for bringing new electronics like computers into Mexico. To make a long story short, I ended up buying it and later discovering in the USA I would have paid 400.00 dollars less. It turned out we breezed through the border both times without hassle. 

The best part of our travels in Mexico was undoubtedly five days in Mexico City. It has a fabulous wealth of art and culture. We stayed in a wonderful hotel downtown that welcomed us with luxury and safety. Our time was relaxed and more or less untroubled; except for being cheated once by a taxi driver.

When we reached the outskirts of Santa Fe and stopped along a road next to a hiking trail through the hills, the smells of the high desert and intimately familiar terrain brought a flood of feelings into my bones. The wealth of over 40 years of lived life there came back all at once.

Dear friends extended to us hospitality. 

The trip to San Francisco was planned because both Amy and I have both had deep and meaningful visits to the city, but never together. We arrived to beautiful weather and rented a car for a week. The next day clouds blocked the sun and it stayed that way until we left. Furthermore, after visiting a wonderful museum on our first day, we came to our car in the parking lot only to discover a smashed window and glass all over the back seat. This was to temper our trip. 

Our remaining time in Santa Fe was spent with friends and going through the objects we have stored. It is mostly artwork of value, art materials, antiques, furniture, clothes and miscellany. 
I spent over 1000.00 USD buying art supplies impossible to find in Oaxaca. Amy also bought supplies.

Our return trip went smoothly and we crossed the border at Del Rio, Texas into Acuna, Mexico with ease. No encounters with bandits, just busy roads crowded with big trucks pulling trailers.