We treated ourselves to a beach cabana one night in Mazunte, somewhat out of choice and somewhat out of necessity. It was a big budget splurge at a whopping $45 USD (nearly 3 times what we usually pay for a place to stay) for the night if we aren’t camping, but the thatched-roof hut room came with a small balcony overlooking the beach and surf below. The breeze and sunset together were worth every penny. The beds came with mosquito nets and a gecko came to visit me in the shower, all icing on the cake.
Since we were springing for such a treat, we sat and enjoyed the room more than we usually would. We hit the highlights of the area but still had time to enjoy the luxury of the view from our room. Throughout the day there were fishermen casting nets from shore.
At first I couldn’t see what they were trying to catch but then what I thought were deeper sections of water or plants seemed to move. The dark blue turned out to be moving schools of small fish.
After a while I figured out they were casting their nets at just the moment that the school was being chased to the beach by bigger predator fish. So the fishermen weren’t trying to catch the small ones, but the ones a step higher in the food chain. They prepare their nets and watch the schools swarming and moving in the water, and they pace back and forth along the waterline to track where they need to be when they cast.
After a while I started to understand some relationships between the people on the beach. And soon I had emotionally adopted a small family whose father was one of the hardest-working fishermen on the beach that day. He was wearing a dark gray tee and dark blue shorts with red trim. You may see him in several of the pics. He had two sons and a daughter helping him that afternoon to reel in the net and clean it out and to gather the fish into a bucket. The mother sat and watched while all three kids took turns relaxing and then helping when needed. It wasn’t rehearsed, it was learned. Everyone knew their parts from obviously having done this many, many times. The kids were laughing and enjoying each other. Everyone worked in harmony and obviously really appreciated and supported each other. They had two dogs who played and ran on the beach. They whole scene was beautiful.
I watched Papa cast the net over and over. Sometimes he came up empty and sometimes he had a couple of fish. After the sun set he moved a little closer to where I sat above watching the show. He gathered his net and cast the pale green circular web into the water.
And after a long afternoon…jackpot.
Mexico has been filled with incredible beauty – mountains, canyons, beaches, skies, food, artisans, history and so much more. But one of the most beautiful things that I have seen in Mexico is summed up in one word…family.
It’s such a huge part of this culture, and its obviously everyone’s priority. I see fathers carrying tiny babies and pushing strollers. I see siblings playing and hugging, and getting along. I see children being more than content with what they have, even if it’s very little. I see strong mothers correct their childs behavior in a loving and simple way. I’ve seen mothers and fathers both work incredibly hard to make sure their children are fed and safe. I see grandparents cared for by the next generations with respect and love. There are no tantrums, no fights, no harsh words, no dirty looks, no sassing or sarcasm. I see men treating their wives with affection, care and tenderness. There aren’t public displays of affection but there is a reserved, steady, sincere and unending love between these people. Everyone treats each other with patience, kindness, respect and love. It’s beautiful.
It is, after all, the most valuable thing any of us will ever have, whether its the family we are born with or the one we make for ourselves in life.