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LIVES IN PROGRESS
By Kay Davis
When I met Rob and Linda Moore, they had recently arrived in Ajijic. That expletive so common of bubble-headed blondes burst from me, “Wow!” What interesting people!
Both Linda and Rob have had a deep interest in Archeology and Art History and were academically trained in Art History and painting. When they married, they began traveling each summer to southern Mexico to study both the historic Maya and those living in the region.
In those early years they worked with Linda Schele, who later became an authority on translations of ancient Mayan glyphs to modern language. The work shifted their focus from art to indigenous people. The Moores also participated in the first Palenque Round Tables while also teaching Art and Art History in the United States.
Probably what differentiated them from others studying the Maya was that they worked so closely with contemporary Maya, providing Rob and Linda the capacity to look from the present backward into the reality of the historic Maya. The Moores are both fluent in Spanish.
As Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador, they set up an agricultural program and trained local students. Robert says, “Our single goal was to awaken the indigenous people to their own potential and resources....a process which enables all members of the community to have voice and position....” The mainstay of that goal was for the indigenous people to uplift their own communities because adopting Western ways would diminish their culture. We, in turn, would lose a sense of humanity.
After the Peace Corps they raised four children of their own plus two children of a relative and, in addition, hosted Latino exchange students from Bolivia, Guatemala and Mexico, with whom they still keep touch.
Most of us are aware of the Mayan calendar. It is sold as a piece of art, but it is so much more than that. It uses what the Mayans learned from the heavens to predict more than just planting cycles. They were first-class astronomers before the time of the Egyptians. They had no telescopes and no computers to calculate masses of measurements. What they did have was a high-level understanding of mathematics and astronomy. And they used obsidian mirrors from the natural glass formed in volcanic activity to communicate over distances. On high peaks, they placed towers with obsidian to reflect the sun and send messages much as the American Indians used smoke signals.
They also had city states like those of the Greeks, roads, raised bed agriculture, art and books, most of which were destroyed. Rediscovery of the real Maya continues to be a focus for the Moores who currently have two novels in the works about this ancient culture.
Over the years they often returned to the US, Linda teaching Spanish, Robert developing various other skills, including flying. He transported passengers and cargo, dusted crops which requires precise flying skill and, on the side, received his doctorate in ministry. When his studies were completed in the divinities, he was awarded a trip to the Holy Land. In contrast, Rob and Linda had a working interest in a cattle ranch in Chiapas, where Rob’s roping and cattle handling skills were required on three-day cattle drives and where Linda worked hands-on with the animals too.
The Moores took a year off to write a novel called The Ixchel Legacy, during which time they visited Chiapas, Yucatán, Pátzcuaro and Chapala. The Chapala area won their hearts, and this is now their home. Someone once said that the most interesting people live outside their homelands—and Rob and Linda Moore are proof of that.