WIND IN CORNSTALKS Road to the Cloud's House: A Chiapas Journal, with John Brandi Renée Gregorio It's the kind of road that has the rubber soles of shoes embedded in its dirt, the kind that ascends between occasional dwellings whose crumbling wattle and daub walls are covered with plastic grain sacks that obscure sunlight from inner earthen rooms. We walk for hours past rolling green hills, fields of pink and orange flowers grown for the feast of Todos Santos, potatoes ripening under dark earth, cilantro picked and stacked by the roadside, entire fields of carrot tops and immense lime-green cabbage heads. Eerie and soothing, the lilting, high-pitched song of Tzotzil echoes. Women wash clothes in the stream, weave on backstrap looms tied to tree trunks in their front yards. A woman with wet black, down-the-back-long hair slowly moves a comb through one side of it while the other is tied taught and high at the back of her head. A man shaves his face in the side view mirror of his neighbor's car. Tethered, muzzled sheep watch us from their turf by the roadside. Blue-green crosses three-deep along the road are not graves: here lies the source of water. Pedro says: "The important thing is to just let time flow." Ambar says: "I want to feel experience in my body." At the road's end, we plunk ourselves down on a hill where our eyes become level with the clouds. A little girl named Maria etches the outline of a heart in wood. To match the eye in the wood, I carve out a human eye. It rests beside the heart. Maria's little brother kneels down beside me and reaches out toward my ankle, just to feel my socks. Behind us, the sound of wind in cornstalks becomes the sound of water rushing in a mountain stream. ©2008 Renée Gregorio