mexican plant dyes, mexico, mother creative, natural dyeing, Oaxaca, rug making, salsa dancing, street food, travel, Zapotec

Pecan and Zapote Leaf Dyeing : day 5

I’m sitting in my cozy home now. I just helped R with his trains. He wanted to tape them together. He’s really into tape. I end up tracking pieces of it everywhere around the house. My slippers make a “speck, speck, speck” noise as I shuffle around the house dodging legos and baby dolls. I was away from home and my family for two solid weeks. It was restful in a way that I wanted but didn’t really know could exist. ANd I didn’t quite feel the extent of the impact of that rest on my mind and spirit until I lived these last 4 days after Thanksgiving.

The night before Thanksgiving, we stayed with my mom who lives up the coast. Through the night I was extremely sick (6 times). I knew what this was, it’s happened way too many times before. About 6 I’m guessing over the course of my younger adult life. Just bad luck while eating out. It really sucked, but whatever it was left my body and on Thanksgiving Day I slowly mended while feeling like a pile of mashed potatoes on my mother’s blue sofa and my extended family all around chattering while I just focused on breathing and resting. Thankfully by the end of the evening I felt like, and kept down a very small dinner. I was feeling very thankful I was at my mom’s, where J could also have help with our kids and where life kept on moving in a colorful momentum that I’m so familiar with. I kept thinking about how I went all the way to Mexico, was terrified of getting sick, didn’t (though my gut hasn’t been quite the same) and I get violently ill from a local coffee shop instead. Recovering, being able to eat again but also to be very aware of what else was making me feel off, has just added one more layer of awareness to my self and what helps my body and spirit stay calm and focused.

I don’t remember what day it was while in Teatitleon del valle, but at some point, something just reset in my system. Maybe it was the dry slightly smoky air (I smelled peat fires being burned next door to us and it made me think of Ireland). Not eating so much gluten, sugar or dairy (except the salty Mexican string cheese which I still miss). The complete and utter focus on weaving at a standing loom with four other women and sometimes Demetrio, our host and instructor. We’d play music, talk, or silently click, shuffle and beat on these old looms. The sound of the reed swiftly beating the churro wool into line delivered a soft and sure hush that I think my heart needed. Over and over. And the markets, agave fields, street dogs, new faces, not cooking, not cleaning, just not being responsible for a single thing except showing up to weave and dye. That’s it.

I’m home now and I hold all these tips, lessons, experiences, conversations, sites, in me as a reminder that things can change over night, people can change over night and it’s ok to stop inviting things that aren’t good for you into your life.

So about this dyeing. On days we didn’t venture out to markets, the village or the mountains to the city, we dyed. And being a student of natural dyeing in this way was eye opening and inspiring. I needed this. To just flip gears for once. After this whole experience I feel refreshed on every level including how I approach my natural dye practice.

(Add photo of sample card)

This beauty came home with me. I’ve only dreamed about owning a rug like this. And it coming from a weaving family like Demetrio’s knowing where the wool’s from, what dyes are in it and seeing it all in the workings around me, I’m honored I get to live with this piece in my home. And thrilled my husband is as enthusiastic as I am about it.

(Add photo of rug in our bedroom)

Later in the evening when Demetrio asked who wanted to join him in Oaxaca, three of us jumped at the chance. It was such a fun outing. One of the first things we did was get street corn, something that was on my list of hopes. It was just like I imaged. But it was so huge, I could barely finished it.

I then had the pleasure of watching one of my travel companions salsa in the street with some very happy ladies. That was the best part of that outing, witnessing so many individuals just cut loose.

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