Notes on vision, unusual weather, and a nasty election in another country

Nov 28, 2016 | 2 comments

I have learned that the improvement in the vision of the left eye is not on an unbroken linear upward line but can regress a bit which is no cause for concern, my doctor reassured me. The slightly blurry vision of the right eye that comes from time to time is normal, caused by the heavy work the braindaves logo has in trying to make sense of the two separate images it receives from the eyes.

Reading glasses help a lot, especially now that I have returned to reading two to three hours every night. Classes, which now are devoted to speaking and hearing Spanish, are, as usual, slow going but more fun. Perhaps I am finally relaxing out of my “I must work hard at this” mode. And, really nice, it has been a week or so that I have awakened every morning feeling energetic and ready to face the day, and better yet, the mood continues all day.

My river bank before the rain ...

My river bank before the rain …

Last Tuesday night the temperature dropped down to 32, a record low for that date. The next day the high was 84, a new all time high record for Cuenca. Lots of sunshine has brought drought and very low rivers, with the Tomebamba as low as I have ever seen it. Sunday morning a bunch of kids, were noisily walking back and forth across the river on the exposed rocks with an occasional “oops” and a foot in the water.

... and after.

… and after.

Sunday afternoon Melina asked if I liked ice cream and my answer was “of course”. About ten minutes later Maria walked in with a cup of ice cream and a spoon for me. Then a very pleasant half hour or so on the deck eating ice cream with Melina, Pablo and Maria.

The Trump election was a surprise and disappointment, keeping me in my chair in front of the computer screen until 3:30 in the morning. So now we have a president-elect with many faults and foibles; a divided Republican party in power; a Democratic party with no  discernible direction; a majority of the voters favoring Hillary;  a range of reactions from tears, fears and anger to jubilation. On my Facebook page, although there are many thoughtful and analytical posts, there is no diminution in the vitriol, anger, “shoulds”, squabbling over who is right, mis- and partial information, and on and on.

We have never been a nation united but a country of several nations, each one begun by a different group of people. Our serious divisions were there when the country was formed and they have continued unabated. The founding fathers used argument, horse trading, bribes, coercion and probably whiskey to write and then get approval of the Constitution, a document gathering all the conflicting nations under one roof,  a concept that had never been tried before.  And it has worked wonderfully well. Depending on the issue the battle lines would change but after an election it was back to the Congress and the Legislatures to work out compromises that kept the country moving along.

But compromise has become a dirty word for too many people. Instead of “Here is my opinion, what’s yours” we hear “I’m right and you’re wrong and there is nothing to discuss”. And we will have a President who knows little about how democracy and our government works, seems to have grandiose ideas about his power, has threatened various groups, enabled the far right to go public and who can change his mind before he reaches the end of the sentence.

Our country may or not be in a Constitutional crisis but we are certainly in a turbulent time, the perfect opportunity for each one of us to spend some serious time assessing our positions and deciding what is really important to us; we need to keep informed as to what is happening to make sure our founding principles are not attacked; similarly each political party has a lot of soul searching to do, including the possibility of new parties. We need to make every effort to discuss the issues and it will be messy and turbulent but however we come out of it we will be the better for it.

It was a couple of days ago that I wrote above about the drought. It was a sunny and wonderful day until this afternoon when a huge dark gray cloud came over, then about 3:30 the rain began, thunder and lightning followed and by 5 the river was up more than 2 feet. The big rock in the riverbed and on the left in the dry picture is under the turbulence in the second photo. And now at 5:30 the sun is out and the river has dropped a little. It’s great living in Cuenca.

Cuidense. And my love, Dave


Dave Nelson

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