Originally posted on February 16th 2012, upon returning from two months of volunteering with children in Baños, Ecuador.
There is an addendum which brings my musings up to date as Covid-19 races around the world.
Layers of clouds every shade of white. Blue-white, grey-white, yellow , pink…chalk-white. White, the absence of color, but which reflects and refracts light. Some of the clouds are tinted a delicate purple white. A rainbow of white.
The 737 had pierced each layer of cloud and rose above them all, giving a sweeping view of the tops of Ecuador’s chain of volcanoes, some of which were also white, snow-covered and reflecting the equatorial morning light. We flew across the equator, the “middle of the Earth”, that artificial line which divides south from north. The clouds admit to so such boundary.
Who creates boundaries? We do. National frontiers that demand documents; tribal systems that demand allegiance; gender roles that can bind feet or minds, to name a few.
Now the clouds are thinning out, a few wisps of condensation between the plane and the ocean. The world here is one of air and water. Fire? The roar outside the plane’s windows indicate a fire contained, channeled to move the heavier elements through time and space. A directed burn, controlled and used to move earth in a straight line home.
“Back to reality,” the young backpacker from Vancouver said to me in the airport security line. I responded, “Vancouver is not reality.” But I knew what he meant: home. To the city, where the power of the elements is tamed, bounded, buried, forgotten. Even though vows are made to keep the awareness, once back in the city, human business intrudes upon the magic. It take a lot of work to maintain elemental connection when the layers now moved through are sidewalks, subways, jobs, politics, protests, bills, ads… the elements of life back in “reality.” But back I have come.
More will be written about my time in Ecuador. But first, I must hit the sidewalks and subways, deal with jobs, try to ignore the politics, join the protests, and pay some bills. I will, per usual, ignore the ads.
ADDENDUM~ March 17, 2020, as Covid-19 races around the world.
While many of us meet together on-line this St. Patrick’s Day 2020, seeking community, seeking information, seeking new skills (such as how to meet together on line!), Ecuador, I hear, has closed its borders. Indeed, many countries are closing their borders. Viruses know no borders or boundaries. We are all in this Quantumly entangled world together. Our electronic web of connection now serves for handshakes and hugs. May the net hold.
May the Net hold.