Before we learned, last week, that she had been raped and murdered in a small Mexican village, my best friend had told me his oldest daughter was a traveler kid who had taken root, to some extent, in Oaxaca, Mexico, where she was assisting an indigenous peoples' social justice movement.
I can't really explain why, now, I didn't show more interest in his oldest daughter, then. I can't really explain why I didn't ask for her email address or spend time poring over blogs reporting on the struggle to which she was committing her young life.
I have - we all have - enough interests, friends, struggles, I suppose. I didn't make any effort to add Marcella Sali Grace and the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca to my circle of friends and concerns.
Now that she is gone, I find myself searching for information about her and her struggle. I have sat many times through the slideshow of her Photostream and read her reporting on Indymedia that supplied context to some of these arresting photographs she had taken.
Seeing the struggle from Sali's eyes, I see how close she was to the people, to the action, how much a part of things he was. I sense her love and compassion and excitement at being a part of something much, much larger and far, far older than herself - something ancient, in fact.
She walked with the people who were here before the Aztecs. She would have turned 21 on the day she was mourned with a march on the streets of Oaxaca dedicated to her memory.
Sali, I can't say why I didn't look for you when your father - my new best friend - told me about you and your stuggle, and he often talked about you and your journeys, he held you very near to his heart and soul, he loved you so very, very much.
But I am looking for you, now, Sali. And, I promise, the eyes of St. Louis are on Oaxaca, now.
Photograph by Marcella Sali Grace, R.I.P.