We lay well up on a rising slope, chins on our crossed arms. It was Father’s Day in the United Sates that morning. But at that time in Mexico nobody paid that any attention. Fathers didn’t seem to count. “You see anything?” my companion said. A hawk soared high on still wings noting us as he scanned the mountainside. I nodded at the bird. “There’s nothing to see.”
“He is probably stripped to bones by now. Wolves, a lot of coyotes up here. That bird is looking for the last scavengers: Weasels, ferrets.”
Rosendo – ”Chendo” – Saucedo was a mountain campesino – a sharecropper. Though he was uneducated, many people knew him for the remedies he made from the mountain’s wild plants and from large rattlesnakes that made this mountainside their home.
His field-work kept him familiar with the terrain I was examining with a pair of ancient binoculars. “Nothing.” I handed him the glasses. He shook his head. “Those things break too easily.”
“How long ago did you find him?” I put the binoculars in a leather pouch slung over my shoulder.
Chendo squinted, remembering. “Five days.”
“The body was fresh?”
“Like he could be breathing. But I hadn’t heard any shots or voices. I didn’t touch it. I came back down through the deep brush, not the trail.”