I captured this photo several years ago while wandering around one of the fields at La Alteña. I oft revisit the image and ponder the presence of the sombrero on the agave plant. Who was its owner? Did he leave it there on purpose to retrieve at a later time, or did he abandon it? Jimadors may be the hardest working men I’ve ever seen. I imagine the long days and the scorching sun from which this hat protected its owner. Imagine the tales it could tell…
I grew up in the Midwest and was just a generation removed from a family of farmers, but with extended family still in the business, my summers were often spent on the farm. Running and playing tag through 6-foot-tall corn fields, picking rock, spraying beans and baling hay, I had an adventurous childhood spent with my hands in the earth and my nose to the air breathing in life. In this way, I’ve always had a connection to the earth, intently interested in its bountiful harvests. My journeys to Jalisco and Oaxaca remind me greatly of these early years. The complete and utter dependence a people place on the earth, the rain and the sun-all elements of life in so many ways. The people, although separated by language and distance, have similarities too: hard working, salt-of-the-earth. I’ve even been drawn to the similarities of language within the old dialects of the Zapotecs in southern Mexico and it’s sing-song similarities to the Lakota spoken by natives in South Dakota. It seems the farther my travels take me, the more dirt paths I traverse and the many different shades of people I greet, the more interconnected I find us all to be. I hope this blog will help you learn a thing or three about agave and the culture around it that I’ve grown so fond of. And if possible, perhaps it will offer a glimpse of time and place that you find intriguing, one story at a time.
¡Gracias y Salud!