Jul 2, 2020 | 6 comments

Mid-afternoon, a couple of weeks or so ago, found me strolling near Mercado Diez de Agosto in Cuenca, Ecuador.  I’ve shopped there on numerous occasions and was parched so in and upstairs I went for something to slake my thirst.  As the cold batido of freshly blended strawberries, bananas and milk washed the dust from my palate, a scene began to unfold beneath me.

A woman arrived and set-up her small soup stand on the steps below me, in the open air space central to the mercado. Her colorful garb and hat complimented her utensils, bags and bowls. A small girl played nearby. The girl’s attention was equally divided between a deck of playing cards, that matched her dress color, and general lolling on the steps. She spilled her cards and retrieved them repeatedly with only the interest a child can display in such things. Suddenly, there was no one passing by my little piece of theatre in the middle of the busy market afternoon. Simultaneously, my camera was coming up when a vendor dropped a palate to the floor, startling all nearby. The two cast members of my private play looked up and the shutter opened and closed. The curtain fell and the one act of wonderful candidness was finis!

The lines of the steps connect the two characters. That’s on the surface and easy to see as are the harmonious colors of their clothing and props. The two are also bound by gender and culture yet separated by age. The scene spawned thoughts about the woman’s past life as a child. At the same time, it created consideration for the future life of the girl as a woman in her community here in Ecuador.

I think about how we’re all connected, we’re all humans, we are the people of this planet, Earth. That’s a good thought, one that seems to have found the ever-revolving door of my brain.  I like the concept of a worldwide family. One earth, one family; the web of our humanness connects us. From my perspective, we are all far more alike than we are different. This photograph provides only a simple reminder of our connectivity. It’s all here, on the steps of a mercado high in the Andes of Ecuador, a simple little one act play directed by the cast members themselves. I’m thankful for the reminders that my life always serves up, and with such kindness.

Brian Buckner

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