Colors of Mexico 7 – Final: Green
Well, I guess it’s over. And by that I mean, Colors of Mexico is over, not the world and the adventures it holds, neither the existence of Mexico. One of my high school teachers once told us: “Each and every little event is a death”. Each event that happens to us brings a change, and it leaves a mark behind, as insignificant as it may be. So, let’s not be humble and let’s consider this last entry as important an event as a death. It’s a burial, and every burial deserves a tribute. So let’s pay tribute to Mexico.
There are two ways of observing a color. Let’s set the example of green. Some might argue that green is green like a bed is a bed, or a church is a church. However, some others might see the blue and the yellow hidden behind the green, some might recognize every shade of green, from petrol green to shamrock green or pear green, some might translate green as a symbol of hope or nature… Colors and their interpretations are infinite because they are the base of our vision of the world. Every word, every idea, every emotion conveys a color. Love is red. Sadness is blue. In some places, green is hope, chance, growth, disease, libertinism…
Countries could also have colors. Brazil is green. France is blue, at least in my mind. Flags are nothing but a superposition of colors, but they convey the history of a nation and allow it to gather together. What would be Brazil without the green of its flag?
Songs have colors as well. For instance, the eighth Taylor Swift album, folklore is green for me. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of a promenade in the woods. Obviously, green resonates with nature: a single shade of green is enough to take you on a trip. Next time you get out of your house, I invite you to notice the infinite shades of green: tree’s green differs from grass’s green, which is also different from iguana’s green. Nature is not only green; nature is an infinity of green.
Green is everything. And this exact same scheme is accurate for every color.
It is the same for Mexico. Mexico is a secret, like the thousands of shades of green. At the first glance, it doesn’t open up to its viewers’ eyes. It presents its grey face, its pollution, its traffic jam, its chaos. It acts timid and reveals its humility, it doesn’t show off, stays in the background, hides itself. We are then a little confused, lost, we don’t really know how to behave, do we need to dig and try to find out what is hidden behind, or should we turn to more extravagant cities? To make a comparison, Paris is extravagant and confident in itself; it shows off its best assets to whoever wants to see them. It is not astonishing that its most remarkable landmark is the Eiffel Tower, an iron tower that nobody can miss, which attracts the lighting and the attraction of the above.
On the contrary, Mexico has its earthquakes, a hidden force from under the ground, unpredictable and invisible. It requires you to dig, search for the treasures and they will open up to you. When you know how to look, Mexico offers you a treasure at every corner, but they are well hidden. In Mexico, seeing is not enough, observing is necessary. Tasting the old ladies’ recipes cooked on the edges of pavements, noticing the tiny statues on houses’ facades, observing the hummingbird fighting against the butterfly, being aware of the force of history in a street or a place’s name, hearing the tradition in the sung song by the mariachi. Here is the beauty, in the shade, in the discretion, in humility. The beauty of green is not located in the basic green of a car but in the unique shade taken by the leaf when the sun sets. Looking for the color is looking for humanity, it is looking for what makes us profound and complex beings.
Exactly like how each green is a subtle mixing of blue and yellow, Mexico is a subtle mixing of cultures. A puzzle whose pieces don’t always fit perfectly. The best example is this lovely little yellow church standing upon a hill, with the volcanos Iztaccihuatl and Popocatepetl behind it. In reality, this hill covers an immense pyramid that dominated the region during pre-Columbian times. Another well-kept secret of Mexico is the church above the pyramid, the Occident triumphs but doesn’t erase, covers but doesn’t remove. The Occident is visible, pedantic, needs to be seen and looks for the best spot to be caught a glimpse. Conversely, Pre-Columbian cultures hide themselves because of a feeling of inferiority and real domination, they try to stay in the shadows in order not to be seen. But the church is beautiful only because of the pyramid that lifts it: without this hill, the church would be nothing but a common church among thousands of others in the country. This mixing of cultures is unique and give the country an almost mystical deepness, where ancient divinities continue looking after. Between the walls of the central palace of Mexico City, all Mexico’s governors succeeded each other, from Aztec tlatoani to Spanish governor and then Mexican president. This common thread is still alive but, once again, observing is necessary.
Colors are mirages, they only are ephemeral, the color is a time T. It is impossible to define a color. Switch off the light and you can erase every line I just wrote. The slightest inclination of light and the light green turns into a dark green. A unique dark green, which exists only thanks to these particular conditions of these particular time T, which has never existed and will never exist again. A color is nothing, it is volatile, it flies and blows away, appears and disappears, makes fun of us and use our flaws to make our eyes believe there is a substance whereas it is only a mirage.
Colors sometimes leave Mexico, in its darkest hours. Whether we refer to massacres committed during colonization, the political repression that stole kids from their parents, or drug trafficking that keeps displacing populations and separating families. This country is branded with blood. During the Aztec empire, human sacrifices were practised because the thought that the blood given away to the Gods created movement and time. Blood was the motor. This blood that can dye this country in black and white, take colors and beauty away. This country was created after the massacre of a big part of its population; violence is at its base and its fertile ground. With knives and arms, conquistadores founded Mexico at the same time as they massacred its essence. And no matter how a plant grows, it will always be planted in the same ground. Mexico’s violence is ours, of human beings.
Colors always end up making their way back. As we commonly say: after the rain comes the rainbow. The rainbow never deserts Mexico and people keep running towards its base with the hope of finding a better life.
Mexico is the image of what we are, a subtle mixing of blood and beats, of elation and terror, of love and hate, of violence and peace, of black and white, of good and bad, of light green and dark green.
©️ all photos used in this article are from Unsplash
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