Last night while Pat, Felix and I were walking back after lap swimming at the Pitt St. pool, Felix thought he saw a virgin. He openly admits that it could have been an illusion. Felix is Puerto Rican and he knows alot more about this than I do. After all, he grew up around virgins, especially the Virgin Mary. I know the Virgen de Guadalupe, and only secondhand, so to speak. She’s very beloved in Mexico where I spend quite a few months every year.
Pat and I laughed along at Felix’s vision but it brought me back to when I was spending alot of time in Guatemala designing fabrics with the Mayan weavers and producing my own line of women’s clothing in the mountain town of Quetazltenango.
Though the people in the region are largely indigenous, many of them are devout Catholics. They love and honor their Virgen too. I started to hear tales of a relic that was drawing devotees from all over the country and even from distant shores. A perfect image of the Virgen miraculously appeared in the bottom of a humble family’s frying pan; visible in the thin veneer of grease left from cooking. She became known as the Virgen de la Sarten-the Virgin of the Frying Pan. I often showed people how to find the home that housed the sought after relic. Though with time people stopped asking. And like so many other Virgins, she was forgotten.
Tonight we passed the spot on East Second Street,where Felix thought he saw the Virgin. We looked very closely. It was a large, standing, beach umbrella shut closed on a rooftop terrace. We are all disappointed that there isn’t a Virgin among us but there’s laughter and laps, summer evening strolls and a crescent moon.