Tuesday, February 4, 2014


A new calendar page already, this one with a delicate watercolor of a ring-necked duck – and all those clean empty squares again for me to shape and fill. February is vacation time in Chile, a good portion of Santiago’s inhabitants heading off to beach, lake, farm and beyond. Mr. S. and I have no vacation plans this summer. It wasn’t possible to plan ahead, his mother being so ill. I’m content to stay at home to enjoy our garden, work on my writing (and there’s a lot to do if I ever want to finish my memoir) and some outings with friends. Mr. S. will need a vacation though. March is a possibility – fewer people out on the highways.

I did have those tranquil days at Los Parronales, which, by the way, means the grapevines. Saturday we had a farewell barbeque. Two local teenagers in traditional dress, performed the cueca, a folk dance for us. My throat tightened, and tears welled. Was I becoming sentimental about Chile? I think it was a sense of pending loss. Such pride in their young faces, the boy stomping his black boots, spurs jangling, the girl twirling coquettishly around him, swirling a white kerchief in the air. In this small town, few remain to carry on the country traditions: the horsemanship, the music, the dancing. Spreading urbanization – industries and massive storage lots for new imported cars – is devouring the fields that produce grapes, tomatoes, alfalfa, and prickly pear fruit. Cars instead of horses and cattle. Metal, glass and plastic instead of alfalfa, furrowed soil and weeping willows. 
Where will the owl family find refuge?

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