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 ‘To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”  Thoreau

Although the post-painting competition closed three weeks ago, budding Picassos continue to dot the town with splotches of color!  With amazing skill, this young artist focused on painting while listening to neighbors who gathered ’round at the end of their work day.  Who would have predicted this painting competition would flush so much amazing talent from the privacy of their homes and into the public spotlight?

A Norman Rockwell moment of sun and shadow pulled me across the street where happy-yet-serious stair-stepped children  thumped marbles from one point to the next.

After a frustrating second trip (see Isla Palenque 2012) to town in one day, I had just passed a scrubby tree when a subconscious nudge prompted me to look back.  I halted, grinned and stared in wonder!  Jose Luis Solorzano, from the post-painting competition, had transformed an entire tree into a magical work of art!  Incredible work!

Jose Luis Sororlzano

He politely answered a few questions while adding details to a mustard-yellow snake that curled up one of the branches. Spotted throughout the tree were iguanas, iguanas and more iguanas!  I projected my voice and stated to the universe, “Now I understand why Life sent me back to town today; so I would pass this tree and discover this treasure!”

We chatted for a few minutes, and I returned home with a light and happy heart.  Power was restored that evening, and life rolled forward.

Satan is always lurking in hopes of kicking the smile off my face.  He almost succeeded through the excavator driver, who surpassed his first stunt from the day before.  First he toppled one of three lone surviving mangroves and almost took the power line with it.  I groaned as the badgered tree hit the ground.

Not able to stay focused on fine art, I switched to painting mosaics on pottery. Every few minutes I checked the excavator’s progress as he moved huge boulders and stacked them along the river’s edge.


Surely not!   I stopped painting and looked out the window.   This time the power cable had snapped!  It snaked into the river and back out again, and the excavator driver continued to work.   His coworker waved for his attention, and finally the driver stopped the equipment and assessed the damage.  I reached down and found a laugh.  “Groundhog Day” was stuck in repeat mode!

At noon I again rode to town in the yellow dump truck, though the odds of getting the line repaired on Holy Thursday/Friday were slim.  After reporting the problem, I enjoyed a $1.50 almuerzo lunch before heading home.    My zig-zag route  detoured for a final inspection of Jose’s tree.    Surely afflicted with painting fever,  he had added a long angular iguana and a jet-black scorpion  to a  bright red trunk!








As I walked home, I reflected on the unhurried pace of the area:   budding artists were quietly practicing their craft;  a cluster of children were playing marbles in harmony in the late-afternoon light; in front of my house,  fishermen were casting their nets in unhurried fashion.  To affect the quality of the day is a gift we all have; we must remember to slow down and look for those hidden gems that await us.   Z

Acrylic Mosaics on Pottery by Lisa Brunetti -