March 8, 2020 will remain a memorable date for me. I was walking down the mountain to pick up something from the store, and I came upon this gathering close the location where the feria happens in Escazu.
It will remain memorable because I was aware of the growing crisis in other parts of the world, but at this moment did not yet see it in perspective. Nor, on this lovely morning, did I have reason yet to think about family farms the way I am thinking about them today.
It seemed to be a day like any other day in my adopted hometown, except also a special day. The day of each year when families bring their bulls from their farms to be blessed at the church of San Miguel.
It is the most colorful day of the year in Escazu.
And these are the people who bring their produce to the feria, so some recognized me and vice versa.
And some of those farmers we first met in the mid-1990s now have grandchildren.
And those grandchildren are the ones who will be tending these farms in the coming years.
Oxen, oxcarts and kids going about an annual ritual, normally, make that day memorable.
If you look at the cart in the image immediately above, and the one immediately below, you can see how in this culture there are unmistakable patterns in common, but you can also see the variations in how the carts are painted.
Likewise on the yokes.
I know this man below. Only from a distance. I see him, and he sees me on occasion when he is working his plot in the mountains in the distance behind him in this photo. I hike those slopes regularly, and I am fortunate to constantly see the connection between these people and that fertile earth that produces that produce at the feria.
And even the most modest cart of all is an image of the traditional form of transporting that produce to market.
Good idea to keep the tradition alive. Keep blessing those bulls!