Thursday, September 4, 2008

No Grapevine, no Coconut Radio…in Patzcuaro, news is spread by La Pajarita

La Pajarita is the Saltapared Barranquero (Catherpes mexicanus)—the Canyon Wren.

News and gossip travels fast in small pueblos, and Pátzcuaro is no exception. I had been trying to figure out how stories can spread with such celerity. I have now determined that Pátzcuaro does not have a Grapevine, nor does it have a Coconut Radio. My friend, Gloria, has given me the answer. It is La Pajarita that regularly disseminates noticias and chismes.

When she first moved to Pátzcuaro from Uruápan some thirty years ago, Gloria was amazed, like I was, to observe that news spread instantly in this small town that in those days, according to tradition, was known for its “beautiful birds and few amenities.” Oral legend holds that La Pajarita visits houses in the morning to sing the news, and that one must pay attention. Sometimes it is not clear if the news is general or intended for a particular neighbor. To find out, one has to query La Pajarita, “Is this news for me?” If La Pajarita sings it again, she is confirming that the news is for the questioner.

In their homes on crisp Pátzcuaro mornings, people anticipate with pleasure hearing La Pajarita’s pretty song. She comes to spread the news of the pueblo...and sometimes there is a plaintive note.


Bugman said...

I think you mean "Coconut Telegraph" ala Jimmy Buffett. . . .

Tracy Novinger said...

Yet another way to telegraph news. Thank you. Coconut Radio is as in Tahiti.