Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer, born here in Buenos Aires about one year before the arrival of the 20th century. About that time, his neighborhood, Palermo, was a suburb. Today Palermo is kind of a posh neighborhood where affluent people, rich foreigners, and artists reside. Borges began to lose his eyesight in his thirties, due to a hereditary condition that had already affected his father’s eyes. When I was a young student I ran into him many times. For some reason he used to frequent that part of the city where my school was located. One sunny afternoon, a certain young man saw Borges waiting patiently at the intersection of Libertad and Santa Fe. The writer was nearly blind at the time. Since he was one of the best-known men in the city, he did not have to explain his blindness and ask someone to help him cross the avenue; he simply waited there until someone would offer help. As the young man greeted him; Borges turned towards the sound of that voice with his characteristic smile and lifted his right elbow a bit. That was the sign that he was ready to cross. The young man grabbed his arm as they crossed the busy intersection. Just to make some small talk he dared to say: “Just a week ago, I bought your last book.” Without missing a second, Borges responded: “So, it was you!” His mental speed was as legendary as his dry humor.
If I am to give credit to that anecdote, I finally have something in common with the great writer. My last book has sold one copy this month of September. I wish I could meet the good soul that bought it. I would like to reuse that Borgesian line, although I would be telling the truth; it would not be polite self-deprecation!
I have been busy for a while bringing back to life a website for a Catholic cultural association of Montevideo, Uruguay. I can report the ‘container’ is ready and I have started posting the articles. Material accumulates over the years and I have 17 years of articles to post! Then two more sites will follow and also the Spanish and Portuguese translations of Guadalupe: A River of Light. I hope they sell better than their English counterpart!
A few among you, dear readers, have been generous enough o send me some very needed funds. I want to thank you warmly and also thank others who perhaps had the thought but could not donate for some reason. These are though times, worldwide.
As the Buenos Aires spring season makes a timid appearance, I leave you with a promise to write something of more substance. Hurricanes, earthquakes, and rumors of wars are giving me a lot of food for thought. The next post will deal with the usual strange coincidences.
In the years before the arrival of the Spanish, the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma was treated by Heaven with a number of ominous events: three comets (one of them Halley’s) an earthquake, pestilence, a giant wave of unexplained origin in Lake Texcoco, and the death and resurrection of his sister Princess Papantzin, who came back to life after seeing the future conquerors of Mexico in a vision. It was in that vision or dream that she also saw the Christian Cross for the first time. Years later she was the first noble native to be baptized by the Franciscans.
As I was writing the book I could not avoid noticing the parallelism between the fall of ancient Mexico and our own civilization. Modern Mexico was born after many divine interventions. Perhaps we are experiencing something similar on a global scale these days.