Friday, July 24, 2015

The Wisdom of the Siesta

The wisdom of the siesta and the functional beauty of the hammock were lessons learned on my first trek through Maya country. Mayan hammocks bear little resemblance to those purchased in big box stores—I refer to the wide strip of fabric held open with a wooden or metal bar and attached to a metal frame. Little comfort there.

Rope varieties are better, but nothing offers the relaxation found in Yucatán’s traditional bed. Woven of yarn in colorful patterns, hammocks are sized for toddlers up to the matrimonial versions. A weaver in Cancun told me the latter style is more finely woven than the others, and those made for newlyweds are often quite fancy. Whether suspended between two trees, or from hooks in a bedroom or a thatch-roofed rural dwelling called a choza, the bed provides airy comfort in a tropical clime.

After our driver discharged his passengers at our first stop in Yucatán, he hung his hammock between a tree and the handle on his bus’s door and settled in for siesta while we over-stimulated Norté Americanos trekked through the jungle to Cobá’s principal ruins. He awoke refreshed and ready to drive several more hours before nightfall. Eleven days and three archaeological parks later a vendor near the Guatemalan border offered hammocks for sale while nearby her daughter slept in a mini-version of the woman’s handiwork. In a later post I’ll tell you a bit about the hammock’s history in the culture.

What I won’t reveal is what my hero and heroine in Two Hearts in Time did in their woven bed. You’ll have to read the book—it’s coming soon.

Raymona Anderson

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