We crossed the Sierra Madre Oriental on a dirt road in an old VW Microbus, and arrived in the mountain valley village of Tilaco in 2006, a place we’d researched and people have described as being of “unearthly beauty,” and immediately noticed the breeze, the simplicity, and the dump truck enshrined under cover near the end of the main street.

The village contains several small stores, a municipal building, K-12 schools, soccer fields, a roofed-over basketball court/village meeting hall, and a few hundred homes located on the SE edge of the valley, overlooking fields out on the valley floor.

The eighteenth century Tilaco Mission facade, built by Junipero Serra, is a fusion of indigenous imagery and baroque architecture that reflects the Franciscan priest’s awareness of the beauty and faith contained in indigenous art.

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