The blue is a mood. The woods are their greenest at this time of year. Its raining now. The plants drinking their fill of this freshest of water. I too collect rain. Two barrels hold between them a hundred gallons. Today’s sprinkle will top them off. We pull water from underground for domestic use. The rain barrels are reserves, they water the domestic plants. Most of the green on the property is wild, un-managed and natural. Its rain collection system predates mine by half a billion years, or so I’m told.
The past winter and spring were my first in the north in a decade. For ten years I managed to avoid winter. This due to a snowbird phase I passed thru. In truth I would return to southern Ecuador this fall…if I could. CV-19 needs to run most of its course before that’s possible. By good fortune, last year, I managed to sell everything I’d accumulated in Ecuador. No real estate, I always rented. I was ahead of the curve in hauling anchor, leaving the valley of longevity. When I flew north a year ago June I’d lost a tether. I can’t travel now, but that’s good. Last year I’d decided it was time to sit in one spot for a while.
It is inconvenient to be nostalgic. Maybe the year I’ve been away is enough for the memories to play a lament. The refrain for a lost moment. All life is moments impossible to retrieve. Spent in one place they seem constant, they’re not. We change. The seasons come and go. It feels better to imagine constancy in our surroundings and our relationships. To try and stretch them between the horizons of past and future.
I keep up with the news. My friends down there email now and then. The virus has disrupted life in Ecuador as it has everywhere. The horrid headlines are from Guayaquil and other large cities. I am told the capital of the province of Loja (low hah) which is also called Loja, is opening up. Its been really tough on the poor in the urban areas. They have in the past made enough to get by, just. In the country the bounty of the land means all can eat. Keeping a roof over one’s head isn’t difficult. The weather is mild, a continuous spring. Most of the expats, the retired and the adventurers, stay isolated in their valleys and on their mountain sides. This lock down doesn’t affect them much. For the contingent of alcoholics that used to drape themselves over chairs on the sidewalk there’s a big change. The bars are closed. I’m sure they still drink. There are small stills here and there so no development can force sobriety. The bar/restaurant I hung out at is getting hassled by the local authorities. They objected most to the professional drinkers. Though never great in number, they were conspicuous. I’d sit in with the various groups but I wasn’t even a potential “borrocho”. Its a calling. I would nurse a beer as I drew the scene. Great place for sketching and photography. Tourists from everywhere appeared daily. They would climb Mandango and frequent the same watering holes we did. After a week they’d be off to Machu Picchu or the Galapagos. I imagine they are now sitting at home remembering all that, as I am. We wonder when things will be again as they were. But, things can never be the same can they?