I awake in my little bed in León to the rooster, or the footsteps of the children of the house running to the door, or the blare of a truck-mounted stereo advertising a sale on the street. The terraza outside my door is damp from last night’s rain, yellow leaves from the tree scattered over the cement. I do some yoga there or on the cool tiles of my room. Then I enter the screened-in kitchen to prepare breakfast. Today I ate a fruit salad in tones of ochre: creamy papaya, peach-fleshed zapote, white piña, and yellow mango. I sat on the terraza enveloped in waves of fragrance from the white flowers blooming overhead.
At the mercado later this morning I threaded my way through the stalls of vegetables and fruit, pausing to buy carrots, two kinds of squash, onions, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and avocado. I passed a basket of bright pink flowers, creamy interior, petals swirling up from the base, the bottom of the basket ringed by deep red hyacinth-like flowers. Outside I paid 10 cordobas, 40 cents, for two coconut candies from a young woman, who reached into the deep pockets of her flowered apron for my change. The chocolate-colored one was actually con dulce, made with dark brown molasses, smoky and sweet, while the blanco was plain, creamy coconut with plenty of sugar.
I wandered around with my camera today and ended up exploring a pink baroque church at the edge of the city center. As I entered the cool space I saw a man holding a guitar, silhouetted by the bright light from the massive doorway opposite me. He sat down on a pew to play, his voice resonating, the church empty except for a friend sitting next to him and a young woman praying at the altar. I stopped to listen to his clear, soulful voice, and realized he was singing a religious song to the tune of a song by Simon and Garfunkel (which may in turn have been a folk song). He noticed me listening and we started talking.
Ysidro works for the church, playing music to accompany the mass and also throughout the day. I took some photos of him singing and he asked if I had a recorder. I did, I said, and told him I would return another day to record him. He asked if I was Católica, and I said no, but I find spirituality in many places, and I enjoy sharing sacred spaces with others. He nodded, apparently in understanding, and told me, “Cuídase,” take care.