(Our moon is waxing gibbous, 99%)
Until a few days ago, I was so clear on what I wanted to write. And then, yesterday, Phil’s Rebecca posted some words from the Chilean writer Isabel Allende and my post inevitable changed. (If you haven’t read it, go and do it!)
For this post, I was actually thinking “what is that I have to say?” and here, “have” means “what is in my possession”… And I was reflecting on this question and a text from an Argentinian Benedictine Monk (Mamerto Menapace) came to my mind. Mamerto is someone you fall in love with instantaneously, he is a man from the country side with time to live, speak, listen and have mate… “Madera verde” (Green Wood) is one of his books and almost every adolescent who had a contact with the church in the last 40 years read it. A wonderful book for your pocket.
There, he tells the story of “Cancio”, a “guri” (“guri” is the word used in the rural areas by the “simple” people, to call a toddler). Cancio was called by his father who looked worried, and explained that he needed him to carry out an urgent mission. Without giving any explanations, he asked the boy to prepare a horse and told he would need to go to a relative’s house and take “a parte” (a sort of letter or announcement). Cancio was really young and small, his father had to helped him to get on the horse. Once he was sitting on the horse, his father pulled out a large handkerchief, wrapped something in it, and tied it to the waist of Cancio under his shirt. Cancio didn’t know what it was, it looked like a letter and something else, but he couldn’t tell. He was only focus on what his father told him: “Go to the uncle’s house, do not stop to talk to anyone, don’t stop to play with your friends. Go and come back to me with whatever he wraps in the handkerchief.”
And this is what Cancio did. The uncle was anxiously waiting for him. With no questions, helped Cancio off the horse, took the handkerchief, went to the house, and returned with the handkerchief with something wrapped into it again, and tied it back to the waist of Cancio and sent him off with a smile and a blessing.
Soon Cancio arrived back to his father. His father was waiting on a horse too in the entrance of their farm, anxious but also watchful for Cancio. When the boy arrived, helped him to get off the horse, untied the handkerchief, rubbed gently the head of the small boy, and allowed him to go back to play.
Cancio is one of Mamerto’s friends from his childhood; a man of more than 70 years when Mamerto wrote this tale. Cancio told Mamerto that he never knew what was wrapped in the handkerchief, but all he knew is that it was a message to carry, and that both men, his father and uncle, were aware that a message would arrive to them and it was important.
This tale that I read when I was 17 for the first time, calls me to read it again every time I wonder “what is in my possession”, what is “this” that was given to me, and I have to share? Like Cancio, I feel I was given something wrapped in a handkerchief that I don’t know its content, but I know is something for the others. Like Mamerto says, I am sure you know what it is, so I am just here bringing it to you.
Cris our Caminoheads South America Bureau Chief in Buenos Aires, Argentina.