Friday, February 15, 2013
View of Rio Intag from terraza outside our room at Tierra & Sol Lodge, Intag, Ecuador
This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor's window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.
The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.
No lust, no slam of the door --
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.
No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor --
just a twinge every now and then
for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.
~ Billy Collins ~
Love...in all its guises and forms, the very force of life as we know it, yet manifesting in the smallest, most homely, most subtle ways. Travel definitely helps me keep in touch with the reality of This Love.
With this, I am beginning the 4th pictoral blog in Ecuador.
Amrita, my god daughter, is on vacation between trimesters at school, so we traveled to a rainforest zone called Intag for 4 days..."we" being German, Amrita's dad, Adelaida, her mom, Kenisha and Josh (young adults here on university study abroad projects -- Adelaida is hosting them in their holme).
We rented a room for six for $40 per night in Intag at Tierra & Sol, a lovely lodge, and $7 each for three lovely meals per day(I broke my "flesh" fast and had some of the delicious trout from Rio Intag who I thanked for sacrificing their lives for our wellbeing). We also ate platanos (a type of banana, cooked in various exquisite ways), yuca (a potato-like tuber, which is prepared in many ways) and many other delicious delicacies.
More photos in Intag:
If you look at the first photo with the huge prominent rock on the other side of Rio Intag, this is the same rock Adelaida and German are waving from, taking in some sun. To get there, they crossed the bridge that you see further down among the photos.
Path from our room.
Kenisha at the gate to Tierra & Sol (you can see the "Sol" part of the sign)
The six of us at breakfast in the lodge -- from the left Joshua, Kenisha, Adelaida, German, Amrita, me
Kenisha and Adelaida
Kenisha and I heading up to a garden owned by Tierra & Sol of bananas, pineapples, coffee (Intag is known for their delicious beans), yuca, corn, etc.
Amrita heading up to the garden
Me, Joshua, Adelaida on a hike
Hanging out in the thermal pools
More hiking, crossing the Rio Intag
Amrita, Adelaida, German and I also went to another beautiful pueblo and area called Zuleta, where the indigenous women are known for their beautiful embroidery.
German is enjoying the wood furniture of an "artesano" in Zuleta
Adelaida and I
An imprompteau picnic in the country surrounding Zuleta (German took the photo)
Barriga llena, corazon contento (full stomach, happy heart).
A few miscellaneous photos:
Amrita and I heading out (watch out world!) The front house is owned by an American couple, Cassandra and Julian, who have started the first micro-brewery in Imbabura province in their B & B, Rio Blanco Bed & Brew. Ours is the back house.
Amrtia taking a juice break from helping mow the front yard
A nice fire going in the front room
Fanicita, a dear friend and very special woman, with a deep sense of service to others, modeling a hand-made hat
Kenisha, Amrita and me in the kitchen at home
Amrita and Joshua
Amrita's amazing hair, in a dressy style (Josh and Adelaida in the background)
Saturday, January 19, 2013
I the Teachings as expressed by Eckhart Tolle!
Life continues to careen toward the Center in all its fierce beauty, and I'm holding on for dear life, mostly enjoying the ride.
I decided to post a few more miscellaneous photos for no particular reason, other than the fact that I'll be able enjoy the record of them many moons from now, and perhaps they will bring a smile to your face as well.
My very precocious and lovely teenage god daughter, Amrita, who displays with great flourish *all* the qualities of adolescence
A couple more photos of Adelaida from our hike this week (Amrita's engaging, bright mom -- no wonder Amrita's the way she is LOL)
Travelers from Oregon who arrived from San Agustin, Colombia and styed a few days before continuing their journey...old friends of Adelaida and German (Adelaida's partner, Amrita's dad, who is currently in San Agustin, Colombia)
Amrita, Adelaida and Donald examining the delicious lunch that we're about to eat, prepared for us by two of the young travelers. They're on the patio of the rustic home I normally stay in out in the country with Adelaida and Amrita
Imbabura Volcano (15,190'), for which the northern province I sojourn in is named. I took this photo one early morning from the terraza of the cottage I'm staying in while I cat sit. Can you see the famous heart which nature carved out of the far right side just above the shadow?
Speaking of the kitties --
Mother Suzie, foreground, and son Moonboy
Moonboy crawling through the window...the way they go in and out of the house
The back gardens (for some reason I didn't get any shots of the front gardens, different and also very lovely) that Suzie and Moonboy play in around the cottage (Cheryl is quite the gardener (I've been enjoying harvesting kale, her only vegetable among all the flowers) --
"Lemon tree very pretty...."
A nice spot for morning coffee (or up on the terraza)
I paid $2.25 for this fruit, each piece much larger than it appears in the photo -- three sweet papayas, three lucious mangoes, and one succulent avocado --
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
My place of residence with Adelaida and her daughter Amrita (my god daughter) is about 15 minutes southeast of Otavalo, heading toward the town of Cotacachi. For reference, Ibarra is about 35 minutes northeast of Otavalo.
I am more and more deeply aware in my life of the importance of PRESENCE as I live it out, and who better to encapsulate what that means than a favorite Irish poet, John O'Donohue.
John O'Donohue, 1 January 1956 - 4 January 2008, was an Irish poet, author, priest, and Hegelian philosopher. He was a native Irish speaker, and as an author is best known for popularizing Celtic spirituality.
Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.
Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.
May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of
Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.
I arrived to Ecuador in time to celebrate Amrita's 13th birthday on Dec 30 and to bring in the new year. There is a tradition here to create a dummy/puppet character named "Old Year" out of clothes and other things one is ready to release. This is the version we created. Here I am with Mr. Old Year and Adelaida, as well as her wonderful ex-pat American neighbor, Casandra from Georgia (her lovely husband Julian is taking the photo). You can see Adelaida's wood frame house in the background and to the left. of Julian and Casandra's terra cotta home. My little bedroom is on the second floor.
Here's Julian with Sr. Ano Viejo
Dec 31, burning the old, making way for the new
Dec 30, Amrita's birthday party. Just a couple shots, because I can't download my camera. About 50 friends, young and old, came to their home and lots of good vibes and good food were shared. The "birthday girl" Amrita is behind me in purple.
Marion is a physician who is also adept at massage and other therapies. Poor Adelaida was experiencing lots of neck and shoulder pain, and got a wonderful massage.
Sunday Cotacachi Organic Market
So, I hope with this little glimpse that you've felt a bit of the presence.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
I am looking at this three-month sojourn in South America, which will begin on Christmas Day, as a pilgrimage, a stepping off into the mystery, opening to the mystery, being the mystery, in my world without borders.
It is said by the ancients that there is an invisible thread connecting us to the Source, to the Sacred. The thread could be called "the God within" or the soul itself. The thread will guide me on this pilgrimage.
I had an idea to create a blog before leaving to develop the idea of travel as pilgrimage...and the invisible form of guidance that is leading the journey. Then my flow of preparation was interrupted by a huge and disturbing eruption by my housemate this afternoon creating profound feelings of not-ok-ness. I know this will pass and that I absolutely should not take the outburst personally, but in the moment I am deeply distraught. So I decided to take a break and post this little blog. In dealing with my angst, I cannot be reminded of the Four Agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz too many times, so I've posted them here for easy reference.
And finally, I am going to simply share without commentary a favorite Billy Collins poem, since he says it all and it speaks so deeply to my journey and I daresay the journey we are all on.
You can have Egypt and Nantucket.
The only place I want to visit is The Blue,
not the Wild Blue Yonder that seduces pilots,
but that zone where the unexpected dwells,
waiting to come out of it in the shape of bolts.
I want to walk its azure perimeter
where the unanticipated is coiled, on the mark,
ready to spring into the predictable homes of earth.
I want to stroll through the pale indigo light
examining all the accidents about to rocket into time,
all the forgotten names about to fly from tongues.
I will scrutinize all the surprises of the future
and watch the brainstorms gathering darkly,
ready to hit the heads of inventors
laboring in their crackpot shacks.
A jaded traveler with an invisible passport,
I am at home with this heaven of the unforeseen,
waiting for the next whoosh of sudden departure
when, with no advance warning, to tiny augury,
the unpredictable plummets into our lives
from somewhere that looks like sky.
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