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The girl who brought the key also came with a guitar. Arturo asked the girl about her pro-
gress and what she could play as he tuned the guitar. She was shy but played for us. Arturo
asked for songs. I suggested any song by José Alfredo Jiménez. Arturo played Camino de
Guanajuato . He encouraged me to sing along. I knew some of the verses but needed Ar-
turo to prompt me. We sang, “No vale nada la vida…” (Life is worth nothing). The song
is a miner's lament.
Arturo shifted to a waltz. Here we were at the bottom of the Copper Canyon, and Arturo's
strumming the guitar. There was a smooth surface, part of the old church courtyard,
near the low stonewalls where Arturo sat and played. I asked Heidi, “Would you care to
dance?” We danced; everyone laughed.
Amber picked up the guitar. She sang blues. Here in the desert, she entertained us with
“Give Me a Reason.” She sang slowly, beautifully, as if touched by Billy Holliday.
I didn't see the Tarahumara village on the hill among the cacti and the brush until Arturo
pointed it out. We followed Arturo up the path and as we neared the village, walking up
the knoll, we saw trash strewn everywhere. There were scraps of plastic snagged on cacti,
a pink child's cap, embroidered with a smiling Mickey Mouse, a discarded red sweater,
plastic soda bottles and aluminum cans.
It really wasn't a village but a small family community. Only women and children were
present. Arturo said we could talk, visit and take pictures. A gift was expected.
We received a mixed reception. We met bright smiles and easy conversation. Then again,
there were blank stares that I felt were either resentful or hostile. I asked Arturo. He said,
“No, you are welcomed, but some are just shy.”
I asked one of the young ladies, “Do you live here year around?”
“No,” she said, “we move higher up during the rainy season.”
The Tarahumara women were dressed in bright colors, broad skirts, and billowy blouses.
They have an aesthetic sense of color. I said, “They are the canyon's desert flowers, so
brightly colorful.” The homes were primitive. There were wood-burning stoves, impro-
vised, made of metal castoffs and a stone metate for grinding corn. The Tarahumara were
kind, but I felt intrusive.
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