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Full Moon Setting over Cinto Ridge (June 2016)

Full Moon Setting over Cinto Ridge (June 2016)

Rio Cinto – Mindo- Pichincha – Ecuador –

I awakend this morning a little past four and peered outside to find that the clouds had gone to sleep, and the stars were twinkling. A waxing moon nudged toward the zenith of the western ridge as a weak meteor taunted me as if to say, “Here’s a sample of what you’ve been missing!” After preparing a cafe-chocolate con leche and wrapping myself in a second layer of clothing, I stepped outside and peered skyward.

P1780929 cup of coffee anyone

One hour and 21 meteors later, the night weaned into morning as two Tropical Kingbirds performed their tender wake-up duet. A Black-striped Sparrow joined them about ten minutes later with its song of precise and very-strong chords.

Black-striped Sparrow

Black-striped Sparrow

During that sky-gazing hour, eight subtle flashes – most likely bashful meteors – appeared for brief mini-seconds; I refer to them as hiccups! Three of the stronger meteors all but sizzled across the sky and left lingering trails.

I regretted not preparing a spot to better view the skies, although the small section of unobstructed sky provided more-than-my rightful share of pre-dawn wishes! Every so often I did indeed remember, “Wish! Make a wish!” — and I sent my concern for a friend fighting depression… and another for a sick friend. Many times I counted my blessings, to be ‘alive with all of my senses,” as Thoreau mentioned in Walden. I also reflected on the past week, and my plans to make a 7-hour journey to Riobamba to attend my friend’s Memorial services.

New Friends at Rio Cinto!

New Friends at Rio Cinto!

Life often places sweet surprises in our paths, and last week I met new neighbors who have a second-home across Rio Cinto. Happy to meet them, yet a bit disappointed that my travel plans would prevent us from having another visit, I apologized and said that I would be going to Riobamba for the weekend to attend a memorial service for my friend Marta. He looked at me a bit funny and stated, “Riobamba? We’re from Riobamba. We’re going there tomorrow; ride with us!” (Which I did! – More on that in another post!)

We're getting closer to Riobamba!

We’re getting closer to Riobamba!

We stopped for a colorful parade near my hostal.

We stopped for a colorful parade near my hostal.

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They even drove me past the church to be sure I could find it on Sunday!

They even drove me past the church to be sure I could find it on Sunday!

Rowen Foster, granddaughter of Marta, read her tribute poem written for Marta.

Rowen Foster, granddaughter of Marta, read her tribute poem written for Marta.

After a lovely weekend and memorial service, I was unsure if I should begin my journey back that Sunday and stop in Quito for the night, or wait until Monday and make the entire trip to Mindo in one day. After the memorial-service events were finished, Marta’s sister, Pilar, and her husband Jim drove me back to my hostal. They said they were planning to return to Quito the next day — and then go to Mindo the following day! Another sister, Cecilia, would be going with them, and Cecilia had expressed an interest in visiting me! (None of Marta’s sisters knew that I planned to attend the memorial.)

A brief stop in a Lupine field on the way to photograph Chimborazo from afar.

A brief stop in a Lupine field on the way to photograph Chimborazo from afar.

Not far down the road was a harvested quinoa field with a few sprigs left to frame Chimborazo.

Not far down the road was a harvested quinoa field with a few sprigs left to frame Chimborazo.

I not only had angels coordinating my trip to Riobamba, but also had other angels overseeing my return trip! The many detours and twists to this story – all magical – will patiently wait to step into the spotlight.  This weekend has new journeys – most likely a trek to that high ridge where the moon set this morning!

My new friends' property is somewhere up there!

My new friends’ property is somewhere up there!

My life remains so blessed that I don’t need to wish for things on those falling stars — I look at them, marvel at the beauty that surrounds me, and count my thousands of blessings.  (I think I’ll tip out late tonigth to try to spot a few more meteors!)

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