Poza Honda/Santa Ana/Portoviejo Ecuador – A year ago, the pristine early-morning view across Poza Honda equaled the beauty of Mindo’s cloud forest. “I’m in Manabi Province?” I thought while considering pinching myself to make sure this was not a dream.
The skies tightened their taps months ago, and this year’s dry season has been exceptionally dry. That dreamlike-view is still stunning, but the trees show signs of acute thirst. The abundance of last-year’s birds is quite low, and many are absent. The Scrub Blackbirds hog the banana feeders, and it is rare to see any other species drop in for breakfast. The Brown Wood Rails have been MIA for almost two months! I worry if I’m witnessing the beginnings of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.
Barbara has been here for a month, and there have been few days of sunshine; the visibility was low, and grayness tainted each day as if someone cast a light-dimming net over the skies. We wondered, “Is this some kind of fog, or is there a volcano spewing ash in the Andes, or is this some foreboding sign of the beginning of the apocalypse?”
Between painting and varnishing and framing and delivering paintings to the museum – and then attending openings, we veered off the beaten path on three different occasions for a ‘Timeout from Art.” In all three directions, the end-of-dry season ‘landscape desecration’ was sobering.
Landowners through the province continue to clear small and large tracts of land or selective harvest certain species.
Plantings of teak, balsa and corn are harvested; with little regard to the parched landscape, many use old-fashioned methods to deal with the debris: they ignite it.
One of the paintings in the exposition is titled, “What’s Happening to My Planet?” It’s fun and whimsical, yet hopefully the Blue-footed Booby will also prompt others to ponder, “Shouldn’t we be more sensitive to those species who have no voice – and are worthy to live in their natural and untainted habitat?”
The final image in the exposition is ‘The Muir Tree.’ A friend, whose family also owns large tracts of land, stated that it made her want to cry; “But,” she added, “We need this. People need to see this, Lisa.”
“Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could,they would still be destroyed – chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. ”
Cualquier idiota puede destruir árboles. No se pueden escapar; y aun si lo pudieran, todavía serían destruidos— perseguidos y cazados siempre que uno lograra divertirse o extraer un dólar de sus pellejosde corteza,de sus cuernos enramados, o de las magníficas columnas vertebrales que son sus troncos.” John Muir 1838 – 1914
Interested in other images in the show? My art website shows six for sale: Experimenting with Online Options