This could be any other forest on the outskirts of any other city, I think to myself as the path curves through a grassy field, past a burst of orange sunflowers and into the shade of a mossy oak grove. Then Guadalupe stops and gestures for us to take a seat on the cool boulders in the clearing.
“Close your eyes,” she says. “Breathe deeply. Feel the peace that is in this place.”
Far in the distance, the murmur of traffic dissolves into the timeless rustle of the wind in the trees.
I do feel the peace; but my mind is straying back to what Guadalupe has just told me about this place, and it defies imagining.
Just two decades ago, this ferny hillside was virtually indistinguishable from the city below. And had it not been for Ajusco’s position as one of the most important aquifer recharge zones in Central Mexico, and a political drama that is still playing out to this day, it would have remained that way.