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Sunday, December 15, 2013

#Triptych. By John von Daler

                  Mostly I remember the hands from our drive on those mountain roads in #Mexico.

                My father yelled "camino sinuoso!" in delight as our Buick panted its way up and around slopes, through gravel and across potholes. My sister and I sat in the back seat and from our windows watched the steep drop-offs into red valleys. The weather was hot even here in the mountains and we let the air blow in.
                The hands I saw were our own, those of the Mexican children, and those of their mother.
                We would get bored. Even the cookies we brought with us got tasteless and flat. When we passed the shacks along the road, children would be playing close to the front porches. As our car puffed past a small house we would sometimes throw cookies out of the windows in the direction of the kids. We commented on the quality of our throwing and watched to see how many of the cookies arrived in one piece. We liked to see the children run to the side of the road, grab the half-broken ovals and gobble them down. We thought of it as a friendly thing to do.
                Until that one time when two small boys jumped up with outstretched hands. I could see the little cupped brown fingers ready to grab the fragmented sugar cookies. But then the mother moved in front of them, her hands stretched out on either side almost like Thorvaldsen's Jesus, but with the palms turned back in a preventive gesture. As we turned the next corner I got a glimpse of her steady eyes following the progress of our car. She did not relax her stance; each hand held back a straining child while we rounded the bend and disappeared.
                I remember the throwing hands, the cupped hands, and the restraining hands as if they were a triptych on an altar. Those three pictures stand in a sacred room inside me.

You might want to take a look at 
my book:
"Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude."
Click on the link below:


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