Monday, April 22, 2013

The Beer Fest and the The Lost Boy: A Life Lesson

Local breweries showing their finest

This past weekend the second Festival Gastro Cervercero, set up camp in the Orchidarium annex. We spent several hours there; Chris Sanchez’s Blues Band played, there was Pirekua group as well and a jazz duo. There was a small organic/local farm market where several producers, like Las Canoas Altas, Triskel and Rancho Los Nogales offered their products.

Chris Sanchez Band

And with this break from daily routine, the beer fest was the backdrop for one of the things many parents dread; a lost child. We had arrived hours earlier and set up base camp at Contentedor de Arte’s (CAC) tent where local artists were hard at work painting petates (woven mats) with beer inspired artwork. Since my children are artistically inclined, they joined in the painting and after several hours of hard work, we took a break for some food. 

Painting beer fest artwork

Base Camp: Contendor de Arte's mobile workshop

We were offered free food for being part of the exhibitors and as I went to show my bracelet and my four year old son appeared saying “I want a torta too!” Already carrying a baby, I told him to follow me back to the tent since the torta vendor wasn’t willing to give us any food. Putting the baby back in his stroller, shaded from the incessant sun, I started walking back to base camp, when I remembered I needed to give a friend her cellphone (I had been carrying it). It was seconds after I gave my friend her phone when I saw  my four year old was gone. 

Did he follow me? Did someone come and grab him while I was distracted talking to my friend? I turned to look for him at the food tent; he wasn't there or back at base camp. I went straight to woman with the mic: the festival MC and asked her to call out his name. I was sure he would pop out from behind something (he likes to hide sometimes). He didn't show. The lead singer in the Pirekua band announced his name, over and over. As they called his name over the sound system, I started walking through the empty space between the crowd and the stage; people were staring at me. 

The Pirekua band began up again. Panic rose in my throat and with the Pirekua group’s fiddle as the soundtrack of my own personal drama, I started running down the central aisle of the beer fest, pushing a stroller and  screaming my child’s name. 
It was absolutely terrifying. Several moments of the screaming and onlookers asking me what he looked like, my mind had him gone from me; he was the lost child. A friend appeared, “calm down calm down” she said, “he’s here.” My eyes scanned wildly, “where!?” I yelled. And there he was, index finger in mouth, his legs crossed, holding on to one of the artist’s hands, looking guilty and scared and like the most beautiful thing I could have ever seen in my life, my child, my lost boy was found.

After hugs and kisses and self-recrimination, I realized we were surrounded by people offering us food, drink, consolation: it’s ok, he’s here, nothing happened, it’s ok. Afterwards, people were so understanding and concerned that it was a little hard for me to process: I can be so harsh and judgmental with myself and others that this was a real life lesson in being alert and living in the now.

The found boy and artist at work

PS- Morelia is a colonial city. It is also a bustling, modern day hub of comings and goings, drama and stress; a cacophony of garbage bells, music blaring from trucks selling natural gas cylinders or the traveling green grocer or the merchant that buys and sells old metal (fierro viejo). A midst the chaos of everyday life, there are moments that show me to appreciate that life is more than a harsh mixing of sounds; it can change in a second and I can only ever live it now.

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