The country road we took yesterday through the towns of Abrante, El Vinculo, and Champa on our way to the Laguna Aculeo was a journey through Chilean rural culture: white flags stuck on farmhouse fences announcing homemade bread; small almacenes advertising Coca Cola, local cheese and Omo detergent; hand painted signs at roadside fruit stands offering watermelons, tomatoes and mushrooms. On our way home, we stopped and bought a fragrant honeydew melon, a kilo of plump dark cherries and a jar of honey. What satisfaction to return to the city with fresh country products. We sat outside in the cool night air – the daytime temperature was in the 90’s – and ate crackers and cheese and our own apricots.
We have apricots up to our eyebrows, yet there is a certain pleasure harvesting our own fruit in this small city garden, especially biting into one just plucked from the tree. As nature writer John Elder claimed, it’s a seasonal activity like this that contributes to a sense of place.
Late in the evening, we were entertained by Penny the puma. Our son tucked into his suitcase a National Geographic documentary DVD, featuring the pumas or mountain lions in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. He’d forged a strong bond with the Park while living and working there for two years, which motivated Mr. S. and I to travel to the bottom of the world several times to experience that mystical landscape. Penny was such a regal, and, eventually, trusting feline, allowing the photographer to film her expressive face, powerful body and hunting prowess. I wanted to reach out to pet her. A perfect fit of animal and habitat, each enhancing the other's beauty and wild nature.
Mr. S. and I were married 41 years ago today. We both forgot until later in the day when a friend called to wish us “Happy Anniversary”. Ooops.