At the end of the day, as the sun begins to settle behind the pine-trees and mountaintops, villagers begin to build fires in their cast-iron stoves for cooking and for warmth. The smell of pine bark blankets the valley, as does a thin haze of smoke. Along the El Chepe railroad line, Tarahumara families start the long walk home; most of them live in small ranch houses several miles outside of town.
The comparison is interesting – most of the women wear the traditional, brightly colored dresses of the Tarahumara, but the men almost all wear modern clothing, as you can see in today’s image. After selling hand-woven bear-grass baskets and colorful shawls in the town square, everybody picks up and heads home. It’s a relatively simple life, but most of the Tarahumara seem very content. Violence is rare among the Tarahumara, and they take pride in boasting little to no sexual violence.
There’s beauty in simplicity, I suppose, and the Tarahumara seem to be an incredibly calm and peaceful people.
For a few years in a row, I traveled to the Copper Canyon region of Chihuahua in the springtime. Usually, the first destination was a small town called Creel, with an active community settled along the El Chepe railroad line, which carries seafood and other goods east-to-west across northern Mexico daily.
A contingent of the Tarahumara people, indigenous peoples of the region, live in this community. For the most part, only the women wear traditional Tarahumara clothing, but occasionally one might identify a Tarahumara man (Rarámuri) in bright pink, ornately patterned cloth.
This photograph was taken along the main thoroughfare through Creel, dotted with restaurants and gift shops and Tarahumara children begging for pesos.
This image is an echo of a photograph I took almost seventeen years ago in Boston. I was still in high school, shooting black and white film, and I photographed an image of a statue – a weeping Native American woman, a memorial for the Trail of Tears. In the image a white, long tear can be seen dripping down the statue’s face – pigeon excrement, yes, but it photographed quite well. In today’s image, if you look close to this Sedona statue’s face, the rain is running down her face in a similar – albeit much more subtle – fashion.
Like yesterday’s photograph, this one was taken on vacation in Sedona. I was in the company of a lovely woman, swirling rain-clouds, and the unique red rocks of the region. Hiking in the rain, watching the clouds smother the red rock peaks, and the smell of the Arizona desert – a perfect start to the new year.
“Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”