During the holidays, I know where I am: Complaintown. Maybe this year I'll go somewhere else.
To see into the future, I don't have to read my palm or throw my tarot or tai my chi. I just have to know me. And one thing I know as I write this, is that in mid-December, I'm probably not in Batopilas.

There's no doubt the holidays this year are especially poignant, but, still, I'm probably here, somewhere, complaining. I'm complaining about the crowds in the stores. Or the cloying and ubiquitous canned holiday music. Or my inability to decide what to buy for whom. Or, if I've really got a froth going, I'm complaining about how much I'm complaining.

I'd also bet that I'm swearing. Swearing, maybe, at the lean I can't get out of the Christmas tree. Or at having to completely restring the lights on the porch because, choosing against measuring before starting the project, I ended up with a thicket of lights on one side and none on the other. Or I'm swearing at having run out of wrapping paper at 2 in the morning on Christmas Eve when I should be fast asleep, but, of course, I had put things off to the last minute, like I always do, so what do I expect, of course I'm going to run out of wrapping paper, of course the stores are all closed, of course I'll never learn. Damn!

I wouldn't be complaining and swearing if I were in Batopilas.

Technically, Batopilas is a real place. But to me it is a dream, a dream of peacefulness and beauty.

Nearly 20 years ago, I went to Batopilas. I went with a couple of buddies. We didn't know we were going when we began our trip. We had boarded a train that winds through northern Mexico's Copper Canyon, a stunning, mountainous gap in the earth four times the size of the Grand Canyon. One of us had read or heard about Batopilas. Since we were headed that direction, more or less, we decided to get off the train and check it out.