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“Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

El Matal (Manabi Province) Ecuador

Life planted a subtle surprise in my path last week when I visited El Matal’s quickly-vanishing beach.  After walking the low-tide line from one end to the other, I turned around and walked back along the boat-crammed street.  Almost instantly, a flash of just-painted color caught my eye, and my serious mood (see:Esperanza-Hope) transformed into one of joy.

Esperanza - Hope -- A subtle message of hope smiled at me along the upper end of El Matal.  (Ecuador)

Esperanza – Hope — A subtle message of hope smiled at me along the upper end of El Matal. (Ecuador)

The bystanders confirmed my suspicions:  Yes; “Maestro” painted the post.   They seemed baffled at my enthusiasm.  I pointed out that he painted the post out of the joy of his heart and not because he was competing in another post-painting competition!    I took a few photos, retrieved a 4 x 6″ card of Diablo Uma and asked if they’d give it to him as a token ‘Thank You’ prize.

They peered at me as if I was the Caped Crusader!

They peered at me as if I was the Caped Crusader!

As walked away,  they called me back;  a surprised Maestro stood there buttoning his shirt and wondering what had triggered the infectious enthusiasm that domino-ed along the neighbors until the card reached his hands!  I congratulated him on his kind and giving spirit and said that the freshly-painted post represented hope – esperanza – for the residents of El Matal. (See previous post)

He smiled and shrugged, “The post was ugly,” and it was, like many others that have been ignored and often abused as boats and traffic fought for the remnants of available space.

Sand (raided from other beaches?!) dumped along the road replaces sand that's been lost.  Does anyone else remember the precious young artist who painted this post?'

Sand (raided from other beaches?!) dumped along the road replaces sand that’s been lost. Does anyone else from the area remember the precious young artist who painted this post?

0 P1520981 Making the best

El Matal 2012 Post-Painting Competition — Making the best of poor brushes and doing an amazing job!

 

Maestro takes a brief break during the 2012 Post-Painting Competition

Maestro takes a brief break during the 2012 Post-Painting Competition

Maestro at work - 2012 Post Painting competition

Maestro at work – 2012 Post Painting competition

Maestro posing in front of the just-painted post...

Maestro posing in front of the just-painted post…

Maestro posing with his token prize...

Maestro posing with his token prize…

One more smile, por favor?

One more smile, por favor?

I smiled all the way home, and hopefully he – and the entire group of neighbors – did as well!

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