It’s rainy season in Mexico from about May to September and I recall my mother “Cuca’s” storytelling. I recently remembered the day she told me, speaking in our native tongue of Rarámuri, something that expanded my universe and reinforced our oral history.
Almost every afternoon, around 4pm, the dark clouds start to roll in, then the boom of the thunder followed by the bright electric rays flying across the sky. I sit outside in my favorite spot meditating on the horizon, and inhaling my Faro cigarettes.
I remember I was 4 years old and it was a rainy day like today– next to me were my two brothers, Memo and Tavo. We sat there gazing out at the rainfall from our wooden framed doorway of our log home and we could hear far away voices, yells to be exact. Each neighbors dwelling was far from ours so we knew who passed by on each trail– Don Antonio or Dona Candelaria or Cande for short. I asked my mom who it was that was yelling, I thought it was some Rarámuris who were coming to drink tesguino (our traditional corn beer brew.)
What she said surprised me.
My mom recalled when she had found out as a child who the author of those mysterious wails were in the forest. She remembered that one rainy afternoon she had accompanied her mom to look for firewood in the forest. She heard yells and asked her mother if their was a fiesta. Her mother said that the sounds came from the seres (beings) called Kawíruli those who live underground— small statured like the size of children and when it rains they come out to dance and have a Tarahumara fiesta. They are very joyful beings but spirited and physically strong. My grandmother went on to tell my mother that they have hidden money underground and that they live just like us except they never grew and were always playing. They enjoyed scaring the Rarámuri in the forest by calling one’s name or saying Kwira ba! (hello!)
Intrigued and startled I never strayed too far from home on rainy days after that!
Our mothers are the one’s who transmit to us our culture, traditions (legends) and show us the way. That day was the beginning of many amazing and fantastic storytelling sessions I had with my mother Cuca!