Portoviejo, Ecuador  – Thanksgiving wears a different mood this year.  I think about the many families who have lost loved ones to Covid, and I think of others who are disappointed or discouraged about skipping their traditional Thanksgiving gatherings.  Life has a way of slamming us – at times – to a halt, sometimes prompting us to take note and realize the importance of others who have touched our lives.   People in the birding world adjust to the news of a beloved icon who died this past week while on a birding trip in southern Ecuador.

“The birding world lost a luminary on Sunday, November 22, when Edward S. (Ned) Brinkley died during a birding trip in southern Ecuador.

Brinkley, 55, was two-thirds of the way through a month-long trip in the South American country, according to a Facebook post from Field Guides Birding Tours. He was on a trek to “seek one of the country’s most charismatic specialties, the Jocotoco Antpitta.”   Matt Mendenhall via tribute at Birdwatching Daily: (Matt Mendenhall/Birdwatching Daily)

Portoviejo, Ecuador  – The year of 2020 seems to wear the shoes of a very-tough teacher, one that presents pop tests and time-out corners. In keeping with my usual Thanksgiving tradition, I will share token servings of a Southern USA cornbread dressing with random neighbors. This year’s batch will include green plantains for a true ‘Mana-ssissippi’ blend of ingredients and cooking styles.

I am so very grateful for the kind neighbors who keep a watchful eye out for the gringa. The owners of the restaurant allow me to use their internet and sometimes take a two-hour break and lock me inside while they run errands or go upstairs to rest.

I find myself reflecting on my many blessings, especially the ability to embrace long periods of solitude. It’s as if life prepped me for these Covid times, and I have yet to be bored or restless. Looking backwards with wisdom, I am grateful for every experience, each one washed in subtle layers much like a watercolor and results in the most sensitive and original of paintings – a study of one’s life journey.

Quito Botanical Gardens

At times I careen backwards in time to the sprawling rambling rose bush that anchored the western edge of my parents’ front yard. Probably stock from Grandmother’s gardens on the far edge of the county, it outlasted the picket fence that slowly atrophied beneath strangling vines of honeysuckle – which housed hidden nests of red wasps and provided magical corridors of safety for the cotton-tailed rabbits. On hot sultry summer days, I often took my soiled and ragged stuffed bunny and crawled beneath the donut-shaped canopy of that rambling rose. Round and round I circled until content to sit cross legged with just enough clearance above my head, and there I sat motionless – waiting for nothing, yet watching and observing and I suppose incubating. Perhaps I was practicing to be an artist!

Upper area of a painting in progress – Acrylic

A soft pinkish color tinted the yellowish-white clusters of the rose blossoms, and I often plucked a few sprigs from the arched and thorny branches. Sometimes with ‘Pinky Rabbit’ in hand, I settled into my little nest and peered beyond the branches. That safe cool sanctuary buffered me from a world that moved forward, and sometimes that world presented demands that I was not agreeable to accept. I basked in its balm of the ancient rose’s serenity. I now marvel to have never tempted the anger of a poisonous snake which most-likely preferred similar solace from the summer’s heat. Surely my own guardian angels signed up for a mammoth challenge when they agreed to watch over the baby of the family.

A new museum opened this past week – without the traditional bells and whistles. The historic home has a small gallery area, and the first three-month show features art of local color.

Sometimes LIfe introduces us to beautiful and lovely new people…

She lost most everything after the earthquake, but she had a ‘pluma’ and ink.

Time to clock out of the later-night session at the restaurant,as their last clients just left and it’s closing time!    I wish you all a peaceful Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the video of the ‘Sweet gorilla’ inspecting a wounded bird.   It would be lovely if all intelligent creatures on our planet displayed the same goodness.

No time to proof – all mistakes are definitely mine!

Love, Lisa