At home with the Subcoyote

Alberto home

Outside in the darkness, up in the hills not far from here, a chorus of coyotes is greeting the coming of the dawn. How appropriate, I think with a smile. Here in Huehuecoyotl, place of the old, old coyote, I’ve just bid farewell to the greatest coyote of all, Subcoyote Alberto Ruz Buenfil, who is letting me use his home as a base for a few days. Now it’s his time to head into Mexico City, where he is taking the lessons of the Rainbow Caravan for Peace into the barrios of that other place of coyotes, Coyoacán.

I’ve come to Huehuecoyotl to meet his family and some of the people who form this core group of world-changers. I’ve come to break bread, share stories, and glean advice for the journey ahead. Alberto has been in a whirlwind of activity since I arrived – he’s playing a lead role in a film about Fellini’s spiritual journey through Mexico, and the ghost-spirit of the great Italian filmmaker was just here to supervise from another dimension the shooting of some scenes; longtime friend Jose Arguelles, author and visionary, just spent some time here. During my two days here he’s just finished another book and sent it out to the reviewers, underwent a root canal and many hours of community meetings and obligations, and bid farewell to his daughter who is on her way back to Spain; now he’s preparing for a thousand-drum salute and fundraiser for the people of Haiti and a visit from Bolivian President Evo Morales, but still he took time to show me around, orient me to the solar shower and the composting toilet, share photos and reminisce about the incredible 13-year nomadic ecovillage whose trail I now follow, from Mexico to Patagonia.

coyotes small

An old legend tells of a time when the Earth is in crisis, and life itself is in danger. In these times, the legend goes, a new type of warrior will arise: a tribe of all races, creeds and nationalities who will be known by the universal symbol of the rainbow, and driven by love, their mission will be to save the planet from extinction.

So writes Alberto in his book, “Los Guerreros del Arcoiris.” (Rainbow Nation Without Borders-Bear & Company publishers)-Alberto has dedicated his life to nurturing this tribe, leading the Rainbow Caravan of Peace on an epic journey through Mexico, Central and South America. This nomadic ecovillage traveled from country to country, led by Alberto’s old schoolbus, La Mazorca, colorfully painted to resemble the iconic ear of corn. The ever-changing tribe sought to connect groups active in resistance to the destructive corporate model. They set up camp in jungles and mountains, in indigenous villages and urban ghettos, sharing music, theater and seeds of practical eco-wisdom: green building techniques, simple alternative technologies, natural healing techniques and more. At the same time, they gathered up bits of local lore and wisdom and connected the disparate groups into a hemispheric network. In August of 2009, the tribe finally disbanded, each dispersing to different parts of the continent to continue the consuming work of social change.

Alberto returned to Huehuecoyotl, the picturesque ecovillage established in 1982 in the mountains near Tepoztlan by Alberto and his community of rainbow warriors. He is letting me use his home as a base for a few days as I organize myself for the next phase of my journey. The beautiful adobe-brick home is filled with light from the arching windows that look out upon the grassy valley below; out the front door, past a tall green row of fragrant hoja santa plants, limestone cliffs tower protectively beyond the beautiful home of his son Odin, a musician and one of Mexico’s leading permaculture practitioners.

I will see Alberto once again before I go, when he hosts Bolivian President Evo Morales for a brief visit to the city on Sunday. Meanwhile, here is a short interview I did with him recently, at his office in the Casa de Cultura Reyes Heroles in Coyoacán. His warning comes as a coyote howl in the fading moonlight.

“Like the Mayan Zapatistas said, we have had a long time to dream. Now is the time to wake up. Because any dream we don’t manifest becomes a nightmare, made by somebody else.”