Trying not to let WordPress challenges get the best of me.
The post, almost finished, was in Classic format and suddenly zapped to another page.
Finding the still-untitled post in drafts, I opened it- and it had been mysteriously moved to block format – now 8 minutes before the museum closes.
Alas, the post is about fragments and challenges and how life sometimes seems like a queue of dominoes, all in place and ready for motion – depending on how it’s constructed. The WordPress glitch seems appropriate.
Thought it best to send an update; all’s fine, busy with lots of projects and hoping that all of you are safe and well. Replying to comments and even emails has been an ongoing challenge, but please know that all of you are loved and appreciated. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but for now, many of us here in Ecuador remain in a holding pattern. Poco a poco we move forward.
The post is a long one, and forgive all mistakes. Time for the museo to close.
Trying to find order in random fragments.
Could it be possible that my mischievous and creative higher self arranged this seemingly random maze of Life for its own amusement? Unlike the simple concept of the forward motion of dominoes, there are traps and snares to divert attention or provide unexpected options. Like a roller coaster, there are highs and lows, long boring stretches that suddenly dip or dive or careen into tight spirals. Were the roller coaster rides of my youth an important part of my experience so that fifty years later they might serve as metaphors in my musings?
(Sorry, there should be an image here, but Block keeps placing it at the bottom of the page.) I will leave a white space so that you can sketch an ox here if you’d like!
Presently the world seems to be in perpetual conflict. ‘The Year of the Ox,’ my friend Jurg/Jorge reminds me. “Heavy.” The Israel-Palestine crisis comes to mind (extremely ugly) yet all conflict is ugly. Reminiscent of Nicaragua’s last conflict, Colombia’s present problems concern me. People from Venezuela remain as wanderers, always hopeful to return to their own beloved homelands. They don’t want to be here, many of them homeless. They want to be home. Other areas of the world have climate-related exoduses – or political – but again, they don’t want to be migrants, they want a home and food and the comfort of safety. Will the people of the world ever learn to live in harmony? Can we not extend the olive branch, the peace offering, the compassion for our fellow man?
(Please excuse the image absences here.. and the heaviness of images in the second half.)
A year ago, most every literate person on the planet attempted to absorb and analyze the mysteries of Covid and its dangers. We watched as it metastasized across the globe at an alarming rate. Much like a Trojan Horse, it filtered into the lives and homes of the rich and the poor, the sinners and the saints, the healthy and the unwell. Slowly we witnessed what worked and what didn’t; we yearned to slow the spread and dodge the virus. We adapted our behaviors and were more attentive to the quality of our food. Like an awareness of a radioactive leak, we knew that the enemy was close, yet invisible.
People have illustrated the very best in human nature – and the very worse. Where I live in Ecuador most of the people remain guarded about the virus. There’s a poetic sort of dance while walking the sidewalks; people (including me!) respectfully veer to the outside when meeting the other, allowing a berth of space between them. Sometimes there’s a nod or the greeting to ‘Go with God,’ and many times people acknowledge one another with a slight bow. There is even more respect when entering or leaving a doorway; the people of Ecuador are patient with each other – unless they are driving!
Reflecting on the history of disasters and epidemics here, I continue to observe a culture of people who find their way through chaos with a salt-of-the earth grace. They might be suffering; they might be in extreme poverty, yet they will offer you a fresh coconut water or fresh mango or avocado – and wish the other well. There are exceptions, of course, but those exceptions help us to appreciate the angels that cross our paths daily! Just today a shopkeeper added an extra apple to my bag of fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables.
(Picture a picture of the kind people of Manabi Province)
‘We’ do not invite this virus into our lives, and for that I am grateful.
A very dear friend of mine continues to take this virus seriously. Not quite 30 years old, he cherishes his friends and family and chooses to live and sleep on the flat rooftop of his family home – in order that he does not unknowingly bring the virus home to the multi-generational family. There are no walls, and he works on his projects at night in the fresh-air crow’s nest he calls home. He wears his mask almost constantly, lowering it only when sipping a cafe – then replacing the mask – even when several meters separate him from others. The past week brought grief into his life; his best friend, who lives in Quito, lost a brief fight with Covid.
In some parts of the world, life is moving forward, but here in Ecuador, Covid stats remain serious. The mutating virus seems to be playing its own sadistic version of chess. ‘Vaccine tourism’ is a new term, and I ponder the Trojan Horse variants traveling with those passengers to the USA. I wonder how many follow the rules and self isolate for another 7 days. Responsible travel requires extreme diligence. Time spent in airport hubs, one could be in close contact with the invisible enemy or even be a silent carrier.
As much as I’d love to see my loved ones in the USA, the possibility of crossing paths with the virus and its variants seems too big of a risk to take, not only for my own safety, but for the wellness of any person I meet along that trail.
Near my apartment is a cluster of ‘viejos’ who sell soft drinks, water, crackers, chicklets, etc. Their presence gives me comfort, and at night others sometime gather there to visit. I can hear them from my apartment, and I smile. They are an anchor to my life – a constant. If I ever needed help, they would be there for me – instantly. This past week the corner has been empty – or just one lone person there, which worries me. There are conflicting explanations; ‘low blood pressure’ – ‘losing weight’ – ‘a reaction to antibiotics’ – and ‘covid.’
As much as we want our lives to return to normal, we must be patient. When we can indeed move forward, will we resume the same patterns, or will we adopt the holistic options and try to live in better harmony with the planet? Will our attentions go to sundry distractions that buffer us from the conflicts of our fellow man? Will we try to see the stranger through compassionate eyes and not through ego?
My own eyes, as you might guess, note the continued deforestation in the area where I live. Sometimes it’s poco a poco, trees whittled away a few at a time, and sometimes it’s a visual ‘golpe’ to my senses. I think about how a human might feel if little patches of skin were taken – here and there, little by little. The skin grows back but is scarred. Then a little more is removed, here and there; what is the threshold when the person becomes sick from extended abuse? That’s how I view the deforestation and then wonder, ‘What’s the threshold? When will we tip the scales and ride the planet’s out-of-control rollercoaster?”
How can a sensitive person (ahem, me) observe this and not speak up for nature’s rights? It appears that we’re already strapped into the seats, but what must be done to keep us from careening off the cliff?
This article says that at 50%, the ability for a forest to regenerate is all but impossible. I think that with aggressive attempts, it can recover, but it will never reclaim its original diversity.
You might have seen the reports about the declining species. As sections of the protected forest at Poza Honda continue to be whittled away, I ponder the reasons for some of this accelerated change. The balsas trees were first selective cut and sent to China.. then small tracts were cut so that they could be replanted (monoculture) with balsas – and they are being sent to China to be used in the wind-turbine industry.
Sigh. Everything is indeed hitched to the next.
Google Earth now has a Timelapse option to compare the same GPS location over a period of time. The changes to our planet are painfully obvious.
The accelerated changes in much of Manabi Province seemed to parallel our recovery from the earthquake. People needed building supplies, bricks, – and material to fire those bricks and blocks. They also needed money, and selling the trees is sometimes the only option.
Even the sacred hills of the Jaboncillo archaeological area are being hauled away, one truckload at a time to be used in infrastructure.
Who knows the source of recent material trucked in to ‘upgrade’ a curve in the road along Poza Honda. There had been a 3-car length ‘mud hole challenge’ during heavy rains, but the ongoing work looks like they are preparing for an interstate!
For a raptor’s view of Poza Honda’s changes, start here – then check the special GPS locations of your world:
Do we really need to widen seldom-used roads and sacrifice more trees and groundcover? The ongoing ‘improvements’ at Poza Honda present true ‘golpes’ to my senses. What is the environmental law concerning work in protected forests? Were there environmental studies? Who approved the work? Did they know that endangered and/or VIP species live there, and that the ability to observe those species might bring birding tourism to their area?
Are they aware that the planet is sending warning signals, and that every splotch of shade, every tree, every protected stream has a strong role?
I wondered why such extensive work is being done to ‘fix’ things that were not broken. Low spots presented a few problem areas, yet the aggressive changes remove the old ‘scars’ that had mended and repaired, and where the birds once again thrived. Now it’s sterile and will dump a huge amount of erosion into the reservoir.
Covid placed us into a year-long timeout, and now things are moving forward – and repeating the mistakes of yesteryear. Have we ignored a really big warning sign from our planet? Will we ever try, as a collective species, to live in harmony with nature?
It’s in our best interest that we do.