Dreams like ripples on the Tomebamba

May 27, 2018

I bought a painting the other day. I did not know I was in the market for another one so soon, but I was. And I am all the better for it.

I had recently purchased a piece from a new, thoughtful, and well-conceived gallery, CVA, steered by Janda Grove and Garry Kaulitz, but I was now tapped out. I was no longer thinking about art; I was thinking about paying the rent.

And then I saw the announcement. Finn O’Gorman was selling a painting and advertised it on CHL and  Gringo Post.

I knew immediately that the painting would be exquisite. I also knew that if I wanted a remembrance of her, this was perhaps my only opportunity, because if Finn is selling her artwork, it can mean only one thing.

It is true; she is leaving.   

We come and we go like the ripples of the Tomebamba.

Finn and I are members of a writers group made up of folks who most often concentrate their energy on writing fiction, but she is a poet — an artist who labors in the field, tilling words into their most potent form, a simplicity that belies the difficult and occasionally dangerous task of fertilizing the  essence of language: making it new.

On occasion, Finn would look at one of our group as a raven to meat. Her posture straightened, her brow furrowing just a bit as she, boisterous and insistent, would rail against a carelessly constructed passage or misuse of a word. However, most often she would simply sit back and allow the cavalcade of noise to wash over her, drinking in only what she felt was meaningful.

Her patience was equally matched with strong presence and talent.

I know this to be true because it happened to me. Her participation enhanced my understanding of many discussions, her insight raised the level of discourse in the group, again and, yes, again.

Finn O’Gorman’s poetry lead us into the uncharted wilderness of meaning, and revelation.

She will be missed.

I was thinking about all of this the other day as I walked home from far upriver; do dreams wash away like the ripples of the Tomebamba?

I recall with fondness my earliest days in Cuenca. I felt as if I awoke from a years-long fitful sleep that had provided neither rest nor comfort.  The country that discarded me had unknowingly opened the door I had forgotten, and I instantly realized that I was not leaving something exceptionally precious behind. Far from it.

Rather, I entered a magical place bursting with flowers, kindness, progressive values, and stately grace. I was immediately exhilarated with fresh energy and I wanted to hold nothing back. Every day was ripe for adventure, I wanted to absorb each moment and secure it carefully and very close to my heart.

I  entered the castle of my dreams, where I live to this very day.

And I remain enchanted. My love grows stronger with every passing moment.

I can explain the dividends I receive in the simplest story.

Last week, I bought a small plastic bucket in a shop close by Mercado 10 de Agosto. It was raining so hard I felt a lidded plastic bucket was the only tool available to keep my stuff dry. I was perhaps a block away from my purchase when I became aware that the clerk who sold me the bucket, now soaked to the skin, was calling out and rushing to me — in the pouring rain. I turned to her. She apologized as she handed me another dime.

I know that crime exists everywhere. I know that something as simple as crossing a street can be an exercise fraught with danger. I know that tomorrow is a long time. I know that my new found home country does not value guns over children.

I also know that those who wish to harbor guns, and anger, and insistence that there is a threatening shadow in every corner, can find solace in knowing that the river is running deep, fast, and away toward the Amazon. It is flowing closer to a world full of fear, armament, and prejudice.

There is room for you, too.

 

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