Friday, November 16, 2007


It’s good to share the stories of a day with those you love forever. But when it is time to speak to those important people, it seems at first that there is nothing much to say. Maybe this delay is just the slowness of memory rising like bubbles through syrup. Or maybe it's stinginess or maybe it's the fault of melodrama which makes everyday events seem unremarkable. But each round day is full of accounts that should be banked and spent on family and friends.

It was cool last night as I stood in the bathroom debating my fate with a scorpion at my feet. But the morning broke clear with a distant view of the volcano. After breakfast the heat and the humidity mixed like yeast and flour into a dense, redolent lump. It sat all day under a floral towel in a gray bowl at the back of the stove to rise. Late in the day, the swelling burst with waves of electricity, sound and water, propelling a pair of buzzards to their stinking nest at the root of a six-story tree where I spent the day painting.

Soon a stranger arrived with a brown sloth hanging from her neckline. Middle- aged, short, and voluptuous, she wore thickly drawn lines around pretty eyes that did not blink as she peppered me with urgent comments and questions. Since I could not understand her, she pantomimed a request to paint her portrait by posing like Betty Boop, one hand on a shifting hip, the other behind her swiveling head. The sloth held on with as much fervor as a sloth can muster, swinging from the neckline, exposing increasing amounts of motherly breast.

Most of the people here are Quichua, the dominant group of indigenous people in this part of Ecuador. Curious about native culture and history, I asked about the Quichua and other indigenous rain forest groups like the Huaorani, who by legend are fierce and aloof headhunters. To answer my questions about traditional life, Freddy, a Quichua, offered a CD of Mel Gibson’s, "Apocalypto", which stars, he says, the Hoarani, who filmed on location nearby.

Insects are eating the ears of the Great Dane who lives here. The tips are gone.

There is a bird nearby whose call is the “submarine” prompt on a Macintosh computer.

An enormous tree flowers profusely on tiny stalks which shoot directly from the trunk. It’s disconcerting, but reassuring to see sexy, fragrant growth sprouting from the thickened core and horny surface instead of the youthful tips.

That’s it. Those are the unnecessary details of the day, rehearsed for the telling so you’ll know I love you.


Carol Diehl said...

Re: the bird whose call is the “Submarine” prompt on the Mac…one time in my old studio in rural New Jersey I awakened to the familiar beep-beep-beep-beep of my Braun alarm clock only to realize that I didn’t have it with me, and that those crafty Germans had based the sound on the wake-up call of a real bird, one of which was outside my window.

All good wishes from the slightly snowy Northeast on Thanksgiving Eve....


Anonymous said...

As I read these entries I have become aware that you paint with words as well as pigment.
Now don't tell me you compose music too... another over achieving Glier!
Be Well.