Monday, August 29, 2011

La Llorona, The Crying Woman

I grew up with this children's tale by Joe Hayes.  It is kind of a frightening children's tale, but I love it. 
Lately I have been thinking alot about La Llorona.  The title intrigues me more than the story, the crying woman...  I have been stitching like crazy on this months dress... I have been wearing it through Earthquake 8/21/2011, Though Tropical Storm and Flooding 8/28/2011, through double rainbows and all kinds of amazing weather phenomena this month. 
Yesterday, Vermont succumbed to a deluge of flooding and wind.  Today Vermont is picking up the pieces of a devastated infrastructure and agricultural destruction.  My heart goes out to Vermonters today.  So I will stitch some love into this dress. 
I am also under the weather... sick in bed, reeling from a terrible cold and fever.  I am feeling sentimental and vulnerable, thinking of a world changing.  Thinking about climate change, about local change and about personal change.  Where will I go after this project?  Where will these dresses go?  I got a copy of my review in Art New England today in the mail and the image of my dress, "Chameleon", struck me something peculiar. The picture next to the review made the dress look like an artifact of sorts.  Like a historic costuming, or armor... I love it.  I love it so much that I had a great aha moment where I realized that as much as I wish I was a fashion designer... I am an artist... creating a relic of my own history.  I am so humbled and honored that people have been willing to come with me on this journey this past year.  You dear, reader have been a part of this creation of a recorded history in my life... and for that I thank you.  We only have a couple of months left to go, and as I am getting tired and ready for something new, I am so pleased and rather impressed that you and I both have continued to make this project what it is...
So tonight I leave you with the story of La Llorona... and please keep in mind... I am naming this dress after the weeping woman not so much because of the story, I just really like the way La Llornoa rolls off the tongue.


The Weeping Woman
(La Llorona)

by Joe Hayes

This is a story that the old ones have been telling to children for hundreds of years. It is a sad tale, but it lives strong in the memories of the people, and there are many who swear that it is true.

Long years ago in a humble little village there lived a fine looking girl named Maria Some say she was the most beautiful girl in the world! And because she was so beautiful, Maria thought she was better than everyone else.

As Maria grew older, her beauty increased And her pride in her beauty grew too When she was a young woman, she would not even look at the young men from her village. They weren't good enough for her! "When I marry," Maria would say, "I will marry the most handsome man in the world."

And then one day, into Maria's village rode a man who seemed to be just the one she had been talking about. He was a dashing young ranchero, the son of a wealthy rancher from the southern plains. He could ride like a Comanche! In fact, if he owned a horse, and it grew tame, he would give it away and go rope a wild horse from the plains. He thought it wasn't manly to ride a horse if it wasn't half wild.

He was handsome! And he could play the guitar and sing beautifully. Maria made up her mind-that was, the man for her! She knew just the tricks to win his attention.

If the ranchero spoke when they met on the pathway, she would turn her head away. When he came to her house in the evening to play his guitar and serenade her, she wouldn't even come to the window. She refused all his costly gifts. The young man fell for her tricks. "That haughty girl, Maria, Maria! " he said to himself. "I know I can win her heart. I swear I'll marry that girl."

And so everything turned out as Maria planned. Before long, she and the ranchero became engaged and soon they were married. At first, things were fine. They had two children and they seemed to be a happy family together. But after a few years, the ranchero went back to the wild life of the prairies. He would leave town and be gone for months at a time. And when he returned home, it was only to visit his children. He seemed to care nothing for the beautiful Maria. He even talked of setting Maria aside and marrying a woman of his own wealthy class.

As proud as Maria was, of course she became very angry with the ranchero. She also began to feel anger toward her children, because he paid attention to them, but just ignored her.

One evening, as Maria was strolling with her two children on the shady pathway near the river, the ranchero came by in a carriage. An elegant lady sat on the seat beside him. He stopped and spoke to his children, but he didn't even look at Maria. He whipped the horses on up the street.

When she saw that, a terrible rage filled Maria, and it all turned against her children. And although it is sad to tell, the story says that in her anger Maria seized her two children and threw them into the river! But as they disappeared down the stream, she realized what she had done! She ran down the bank of the river, reaching out her arms to them. But they were long gone.

The next morning, a traveler brought word to the villagers that a beautiful woman lay dead on the bank of the river. That is where they found Maria, and they laid her to rest where she had fallen.

But the first night Maria was in the grave, the villagers heard the sound of crying down by the river. It was not the wind, it was La Llorona crying. "Where are my children?" And they saw a woman walking up and down the bank of the river, dressed in a long white robe, the way they had dressed Maria for burial. On many a dark night they saw her walk the river bank and cry for her children. And so they no longer spoke of her as Maria. They called her La Llorona, the weeping woman. And by that name she is known to this day. Children are warned not to go out in the dark, for, La Llorona might snatch them and never return them.

1 comment:

  1. The La Llorona story is one of my favorites too, Wylie! Clarissa Estes has recorded a beautiful version of it. I listen to it over & over in my studio. (Maybe you've heard it from across the hall :) Estes likens the drowned children to La Llorona's creative children - her art. And after she dies, the angel in heaven can't let her into "heaven" without her children. So she's banished to roam the riverbeds forever, pitifully looking for her drowned children,
    Your children are obviously very much alive!! and you have cared for them & brought them to a heavenly place. Bravo!
    Hope you feel better.
    Love the review in Art N England! With yr permission i'd like to show a pic of one of yr dresses to my Studio Art class as an example of the DIVERSE ways a person can make art.
    Love, Sharon