Amy and I walked by the Catedral Metropolitan one day when we saw people milling about. Within the gates of the Catedral, there were booths set up that looked like huts. There was straw or sawdust strewn in front of each booth.
It was in this moment that we both saw something that we couldn’t believe: taxidermy.
It was the day of Corpus Christi, when Catholics celebrate the Eucharist, and once upon a time in Mexico, the peasants would take their livestock and crops to the church to be blessed on this very day to assure a good harvest for the next year. Nowadays, in the big cities, parents take their kids dressed up as peasants and they have their child’s picture taken.
In front of kid-sized huts.
I’ve lived in Mexico for quite a while and I’m sure somewhere, they had (or still have) real animals. But this is a big city and transporting live animals is a pain.
The answer? Taxidermy.
There were roosters, hens, cats and dogs, the typical farmyard fare. Then there were the booths that had exotic animals like a brown eagle and a jaguar.
This had to be illegal.
In one booth, they sat a little girl in front of a small hut. The photographer took a basket filled with taxidermied baby chicks and placed it in her lap. But something didn’t look “right” so the photographer took the basket and started repositioning the chicks. Their legs were made of wires so you can bend them whichever way you chose.
It seemed a bit of a contradiction, a child, so close to the beginning of life, sitting in the midst of so much that has long since ended it.
I will never understand why I never took a photo in front of one of these huts.