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Before

Before: Mangroves on both sides of the house…

Ecuador

Once upon a time in 2008, magnificent mangroves cocooned the Casa Blanca (aka ‘Riverhouse’ and sometimes ‘Casa Loca”) on the last bend of Rio Jama… The few old photos of that house are not very good, but they show the essence of the area in 2008.   Note the trees on the both sides of the house.

Mangroves before...

Mangroves before…

Some of you are aware of last year’s loss of those mangroves that stood proud and tall downriver from the house.  An excavator arrived and began shoving the mangroves into the river.  Dump trucks stockpiled huge boulders to replace the trees and strong arm the river into submission, which distressed one artist, and to her dismay, no one else!

After- (After pushing down trees;  after extinguishing power!)

After- (After pushing down trees; after extinguishing power!)

Stockpile of boulders

Stockpile of boulders – a cluster of three mangroves was left…

Please save those three trees, I pleaded.

Please save those three trees, I pleaded.

After -

After the rainy season and after the excavator…

How delighted I was when nature bit back and said, ‘That’s enough!”

They left one mangrove, which is another story...

They left one mangrove, which is another story

But sometimes Mother Nature bites back!!!!

Sometimes Mother Nature bites back!!!! (See Friday the 13th – Nature Strikes Back!)

Big Daddy to the rescue;  An hour later, they resumed work.

Big Daddy to the rescue; An hour later, they resumed work.

Jaime

Jaime/Yellow boat – How much more will they destroy?

Then there are the vanishing mangroves.  So pretty one day....

Vanishing mangroves. So pretty one day….

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Gone Tomorrow – I returned from the museum shows to find more destruction.

Another year passed, and the muni erected a grand sign that presided over the final bend in the river.  The sign boasted, “Look what we did!”   At night the sign’s sea-monster reflection mingled with the ghosts of those lost mangroves.

P1710170 muni work P1480919 muni work

Two years after the work began, the area remains sterile.  At times the strong current undercuts the rocks, which shift and settle at low tide.  The barren area provides a great view of the river, but at a loss of the mangroves that once hosted rookeries of egrets, ibis, frigates, herons and cormorants.   I’ve adapted, adjusted and still treasure my life on this last bend of the river.  The fishermen and the birdlife provide endless photo opportunities!

Pelican Harmony

Pelican Harmony

P1670905 JAIME FISHERMAN IN CANOA

Jaime, a very polite and intelligent fisherman!

P1480562 canoe casting nets

P1610682 RIO JAMA Fernando y andy y canoe

My friend Fernando and his son Andy and ? I’m not sure who the third person is!

My neighbor

My neighbor Jaime

Snowy Egret Wearing Yellow Slippers

Snowy Egret Wearing Yellow Slippers

P1450508 SNOWY EGRET Y LITTLE BLUE HERON

P1620367 fisherman y egret

Jaime

Jaime

I warn the fishermen that the rocks are unstable and dangerous... They laugh at me.

I warn the fishermen that the rocks are unstable and dangerous… They laugh at me.

I am the king of t his river!

I am the king of this river!

Catch me if you can!

Catch me if you can!

Black Crowned Night Heron and Green Kingfisher

Black Crowned Night Heron and Green Kingfisher

P1530191 JUNE 10 2012 HOW MANY BIRDS

Last night I bolted to the deck and squinted through the overcast moonlight when I heard, “Plop! Plop!— Ker-plunk! — Ker-Splassssh!”   which sounded like elephants jumping into the river!    The sound of rushing current, boulders crashing, and waves racing across the river continued for at least five minutes, though other stragglers joined the swimming party for another half hour.  The sound of rushing water replaced the usual sweet silence of the river at low tide.  Waves lapped near the house, and I pondered, “Did we just have an earthquake?   Did somewhere else have an earthquake hours ago, and this is the beginning of a tsunami?”

The anticipation of dawn beneath full-moon skies

The anticipation of dawn beneath full-moon skies

Slow to panic, I reasoned that the subtle forces of low-tide currents had finally gobbled enough mud beneath the rocks to trigger a domino effect on the big boulders.   Like a child anticipating Santa’s arrival, I went to sleep with expectations of dawn.

The moon sets over the river;  wonder what surprises the day will bring!

The moon sets over the river; wonder what surprises the day will bring!

My downstream neighbors, the fishermen, joined my inspection.  Here’s what we discovered:P1720505 nature speaks

P1720531 nature speaks

I chuckled at the irony; the municipality’s sign boasted, ‘Look what we did!” and the river chuckled back, “I don’t think so!”

P1720514 nature speaks sign in river jama

P1720535 nature speaks

The tide slowly ebbed to reveal more of the sign.

P1720596 muni sign in rio jama

Jaime and I discussed how important the trees are to the health of the river.

Jaime and I discussed how important the trees are to the health of the river.

Life resumes;  Jaime returned home as did I.

Life resumes; Jaime returned home as did I.

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