Rafi’s reveries were nourished by grandma’s tales from the Magical Towns, or Pueblos Mágicos, found throughout Mexico. When grandma passed on Rafi directed his heart’s compass towards El Tepozteco, the only sacred site she’d left untrodden due to her final seasons’ sojourn in a wheelchair.
There perched high upon the mountaintop were holy grounds keeping vigil over the mystical town of Tepoztlán, revered as Quetzalcoatl’s birthplace. More than anything, he longed to meet the fabled tejones, or coatimundi: racoon-like creatures with stunning sheen coats of burnt orange, mischievous tails and distinctive markings reminiscent of Saturn.
On many inspired occasions she’d shown him a cherished old photo of a coatimundi taken by her own grandmother. She’d offered the picture forth as if cradling a nestling, disclosing in a whisper that it was her nahual, or sacred animal companion. She beamed, revealing her hallmark toothy grin, when speaking of her interspecies soul sisterhood with this unique, intrepid critter.
Rafi finally realized his ancestral quest, planting feet on Tepozteco’s summit and gamboling about the magnificent edifices erected there atop. Sensorily sated, he sat to turn his gaze inward and quietly observe his thought stream. He felt a profound sense of tranquility and centeredness, recalling restful moments when grandma’s lap was his pillow.
Gently, she’d stroke his hair and softly whisper, shhhhh…
The wind suddenly swelled, carrying a familiar voice… shhhhh.
It grew gradually louder and more intentional… shhhhh.
Cresting curiosity coaxed his eyes open, revealing his encirclement by crouching coatimundis. Their peaceful repose conveyed calm. Their willowy tails sinuously swayed as they tenderly purred in unison, shhhhh.
He could swear they were smiling a toothy grin.