Zapata Tales, revisited

THOSE WHO HAVE passed through this corner of Mexican cyberspace for more than three years will remember its previous incarnation, The Zapata Tales.

That old boy is gone now, offline, but I took a peek recently and found some photos and other items I will share — reissue — today. Some things are worth repeating.

Let us start with a post, the final one, from The Tales. It was also where the title of this website originated — The Unseen Moon, which came to me out of the blue even though I have since seen it used elsewhere.

* * * *

The Old Wolf

It had rained most of the night, but not now, so he stood quietly so not to waken his mate. He left the cave to trot the short distance to the overlook. Clouds were clearing and he sat on his haunches and viewed the incredible distance, the morning valley below and the faraway mountains.

They had left the old home because Homo erectus became more of a worry down in the valley. Now they lived in a different cave that was very high and well hidden. Homo erectus was no threat here.

They lived in peace, eating the occasional rodent and rabbit that were becoming more difficult to catch. He was not as quick as before and gray covered his snout. One fang ached now and then.

His mate, whom he loved so, had caught a burr in a back paw. She never got it out, and it festered. He did all the running now, and sometimes he came back to the cave breathing heavily.

wolf-8978911But with a rabbit. He would always have a rabbit or something like that. It had to be done if they were to eat and continue.

There had been pups over the years. Those were very happy times, the little ones climbing over his chest and biting his ears. He loved that. But they had gone.

They had found their own mates and walked far away.

This cliff edge where he sat now was a favored spot.  At night he saw the moon, and he howled at it. He didn’t know why he did that. He only knew that he had to, that it was absolutely required.

How would the moon hang in the sky without his songs?

He thought about how he had met his mate so many years ago. They were young together, and they played among the trees farther down the valley. One day she smelled like a ripe pine nut, and they got married in the bushes. She had never given him anything but joy.

* * * *

The years had passed. The pups. Hunting and being hunted by Homo erectus. Fresh mountain summers and cold winters of snow, which were the hardest times. But most times were good. Few were bad.

In both the first cave far below and this new higher home, distant from Homo erectus, they had slept all those nights atop brown leaves with their bodies touching. Their spirit of love had never waned, and it was warming in the winter, cooling in summer.

* * * *

As he sat this morning on the cliff watching the clouds disperse and the sun rising over the distant damp crests, he thought of these things as he did more and more in recent weeks.

And his fang ached.

He stood with a deep sigh and walked toward the cave entrance. His mate would be awake by now, waiting. But she was not. She lay where he had left her. He drew near and nudged her with his old nose.

The cave was quiet. He heard spiders climbing the walls. A hollow sound crept from the farther depths where they had never dared to walk, deep in the cavern. His heart grew chill. His love had died.

He sat and stared at her. He inhaled deeply. He turned to look at the cave entrance where there was more light. After an hour he stood and walked back to the overlook. It was a brilliant morning.

He asked the unseen moon: What am I going to do?

* * * *


Let’s turn to photos now. This is my wife looking at our lake from a very high point about six years ago. I like the woman. I like the lake. I like the mountains. I like the nation, warts and all.

A corner downtown.
A street downtown.
A clay bowl.
A clay bowl.

My first year below the Rio Bravo, before I married, before I built the Hacienda, I drove alone in my shiny new Chevy hatchback to Querétaro. Passing an art shop, I saw this bowl through the window. I bought it.

Today it sits in the Hacienda living room, full of Hershey’s Kisses. You wanna kiss. You know where to find one.

Feet in the hammock.

Years back, I used to spend hours, reading, dozing, daydreaming, marveling, in the hammock on the upstairs terraza. Now I almost never do that. Don’t know precisely why. The hammock is still there.

Cloudy mountains.
Cloudy mountains.

This is not far from our house. We see this every weekday morning when we do our power walk around the neighborhood plaza. Sometimes there are clouds, sometimes not.


A few years back, we had a new cistern dug. I went spelunking with a camera.

* * * *

The Zapata Tales  had a column running down the right side, particularly interesting remarks culled from readers’ comments. I put them there for two reasons: 1. They made me feel good. 2. They were a lure to new readers who might have just glanced about and departed.

Here are just a few:

You never cease to amuse and amaze me.

Pretentious dolt!

You have brought so much joy and a little irritation.

You disgust me (a paraphrase).

Wise, wry writing from a beautiful place.

What a nice piece of heaven you share.

You’re like a drunk uncle.

You’re a right-wing wacko.

God, you are hysterical!

You are a treasure on the electron highway.

There were many more, but you get the idea. I rarely get those types of comments on The Unseen Moon. Not quite sure why. I have mentioned that my mind has changed. One reader, on hearing that confession, suggested seriously that I seek medical help due to senile dementia or perhaps impending lunacy. I have yet to do that.

The Tales  were more lyrical and romantic thanThe Moon.  Life settles down. The Tales  were referenced in Carl Franz’s People’s Guide to Mexico, the tour book popular with hippies who eat brown rice and drink goat’s milk.

* * * *

Remains of monster maguey.
Remains of monster maguey.

I planted this maguey when it was quite tiny. It grew. And grew. And grew. I had to get rid of it. These two fellows first cut the fronds off, leaving the base, which was unearthed and toted away.

I’ll never make that mistake again.


A street in the neighborhood. I could tell you who lives here, but then I’d have to kill you.

Scene inside the Hacienda.
Scene inside the Hacienda.
Local beauty parlor.

* * * *

The Zapata Tales ran for six years. The Unseen Moon has shone for three. The daily readership count is about the same. The former focused on my life in Mexico, the latter, not so much.

Things change. Minds change. I doubt I will seek psychological help. What’s the point?

Old wolves don’t need no stinkin’ shrinks.

I hope you enjoyed the lupine Tale and photos.

It’s going to be a wonderful day.

18 thoughts on “Zapata Tales, revisited

    1. Connie: As I read through it yesterday, I was taken by how different it was, the tone. I don’t think I could do that now. What I can do now is what I am doing now.


    1. “Moderation” is for the young….I’m too old…when I savor something I savor it with much more gusto than I did in my youth.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nice photos, Felipe. I don’t remember when I started reading your site. Once in a while it’s nice to navigate through it – I enjoy looking back at pictures.

    As far as the “Scene inside the Hacienda” I have a similar setup, they invoke some emotions. That’s why mine are still there.


    1. Andean: I’m reasonably certain you found my corner of cyberspace after I had retired the Zapata Tales. It was a quite different website. In any event, I appreciate your feedback and participation.


  2. You certainly created a sympathetic critter with your old wolf.

    Perhaps you got your inspiration long ago from Jack London. We are not the only creatures on top of the food chain. We definitely share some common traits and characteristics with our fellow mammals, both good and bad.


    1. Andrés: The old wolf is a sympathetic fellow indeed. I wonder whatever happened to him. It was the second of two parts. I tried to find the original, but I cannot. I probably wrote it when the Zapata Tales were on Blogger, not WordPress. If so, and I think it is so, it is history. I have long zapped the Blogger version.


  3. I enjoyed the tales, and I mostly enjoy this phase of the journey. I often wonder why we never met up when I lived in your area, although I did email you a few times for advice before I moved there from Puerto Escondido.

    I didn’t know Peoples Guide to Mexico was still being updated. I had three editions before I moved there, but always considered it more of a philosophy than a travel guide. What I took from it was: when you go to a different country, live as the residents live. If you want to live like you did before, go back where you came from.


    1. Kris: I do not know about the People’s Guide updates. I got an email from them five or six years ago, saying they were mentioning me in the next edition. I never actually saw it. I have an old version. I like your interpretation of the guide’s philosophy. I think you are correct.


  4. I go all the way back to when you used to spar with the posters on Mexico Connect. My sister, who is a retired English teacher, really liked your earlier writing, but she has become an extreme lefty and probably dropped you somewhere along the line. I personally like the nice mix: great stories, wonderful pictures, and hard kicks to the midsection of the moronic left wing of our once great country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul: Mexico Connect was a long, long time ago, so we’re kind of like blood brothers. Speaking of kin, has your sister met my sister? They would be fabulous pals. They could make Molotov Cocktails together and call everybody a racist if they have a contrary opinion on anything whatsoever.

      “Moronic left wing of our once great country.” Boy, you got that right. A tragedy. There may be hope, but I am not optimistic.


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