On a visit to San Miguel, about four years ago, we took a tour of El Charco del Ingenio in August after the rains. The preserve and botanical garden was in full bloom. We walked the length, with Mario Mendoza, curator. The botanical tour was a mix of stories about the natural, plant and animal history plus personal stories about his grandmother’s knowledge of the medicinal and healing uses of local plants. Included was a story of his life as a teenager, who on a dare, and as a rite of passage for boys at that time, walked the length of the aquaduct from the Fabrica Aurora to the dam. This pipe sits high above the canyon, running for a full kilometer, making this a clearly dangerous, but I am sure an exhilarating, experience to be able to say that you had survived.
Rather than rewrite all of El Charco’s history here,
There are extensive writings on their website below
About the twenty year history,
The nature of the plants and gardens
It’s reservoir and pools
Species of animals and birds
The ancient history
The original water wheel, dam and aquaduct,
It’s sanctification in 2004 by the Dalai Lama
As one of five peace zones in Mexico
A place that is free of violence and arms
Dedicated to the conservation of nature
El Charco del Ingenio
Since the time of our first walk with Mario,
We have taken several family members on the tour,
None of which were run by Mario.
Although the subsequent tours were interesting,
We found ourselves missing the stories and oral history
That was passed down through Mario on our first visit.
A couple of weeks ago
I was asked by a friend who does bird walks there,
If I could stand in for him to video a tour
To be given by Mario to a group of master gardeners.
The videos will be used to train future docents at the preserve.
I said yes of course, and went out last monday
With my camera, and with John to take stills,
On a beautiful crisp clear morning.
We walked along with the group from the entrance,
To the conservatories and plant propagation areas,
Recording Mario’s stories
Doing this, of course, has only made me want to go out again
With Mario, to capture the oral and personal history
That Mario, who is a great storyteller, told so well
On our first visit a few years ago.
Here are four 10 minute movies that I made of Mario’s talk.
Since they have been broken down in to smaller segments from the larger movie,
You might want to watch them in order.
They may take a minute or so to fully load.
Charco del Ingenio Movie part 1:
Charco del Ingenio Movie part 2:
Charco del Ingenio Movie part 3:
Charco del Ingenio Movie part 4:
Copyright, all rights reserved, Suzanne da Rosa 2009
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