“You can only chase a butterfly for so long.” ― Jane Yolen, Prince Across the Water
From a very early age, butterflies and moths have been my totems. I have always been enchanted by their graceful movements and their vibrant colors. Although they symbolize different things to different cultures, universally, they represent change and transformation.
For TheWeeklyPhotoChallenge: This week, we want to see photos that focus on one thing. Here is my interpretation of “On the First Day of Christmas” Nicaraguan style. Instead of “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree: “On the first day of Christmas Nicaragua gave to me….
“Most people want to be circled by safety, not by the unexpected. The unexpected can take you out. But the unexpected can also take you over and change your life. Put a heart in your body where a stone used to be.” ― Ron Hall
We are in the states for Ron’s mother’s celebration of life. The day of Jane’s celebration of life, we were greeted with unexpected surprises throughout the day. Most people want to be circled by safety…we prefer the unexpected.
Using an outhouse. A headless scarecrow? Snow???? Brrrrrr. A little bird landed on Ron’s fingers. We found a secret tunnel at the museum where Jane’s celebration of life was held.
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
A good friend of mine in Nicaragua is a pig farmer. Her two sows recently had two litters of 19 piglets in all. When the piglets are six to eight weeks old, she sells them. She invited me to visit her two farrows of piglets the other day. Scrambling on top of one another, bouncing, jumping, playing, napping…I enjoyed every second watching piglet antics.
This quote seemed very appropriate because there are two giant mama pigs, who take turns nursing the 19 piglets. The piglets sidle up, snuggle close, and I think they just want to be sure of each other.
During this video, there was a 6.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Nicaragua. There was plenty of rockin’ and rollin’ going on, but the sweet little piglets didn’t seem to mind one bit. And if you are rooting for the runt (who walks away unable to find a teat), don’t worry. He sidled up with the other mama pig a few minutes later…just to be sure.
Living a simple life of hard labor, our neighbor reminds me of the Plowman in the Canterbury Tales. He weaves his way through the fields, calling to his oxen, “Chele, Ya! Chele.” ( Chele is a nickname for white skin. “White, Go! White.”) The plowman was the most recognized symbol of the poor in the medieval world and was associated with great virtue. Nicaragua has many plowmen of great virtue. Lacking high-tech farm equipment such as tractors, these hard-working men travel from field to field with their oxen teams helping their friends and neighbors prepare for the planting season.
Ploughing family farms promptly at the beginning of the rainy season is critical to ensuring household food security and farm livelihoods. Once the field is furrowed, a worker places sugar cane reeds in the furrows. They haul the cane on their backs. Then, sharp machetes chop the cane into small pieces and it is covered with dirt. The plowman takes excellent care of his oxen. One tractor costs as much as 30 pairs of oxen that can do the work of three tractors. Animal traction is less expensive, more environment friendly, and more flexible than tractors. The oxen take a rest. On average, a bovine needs 20-30 pounds of forage a day. These oxen are strong and healthy. Dry season feeding is survival management for the cattle. It is estimated that cattle lose 50% of the weight gained during the rainy season. Our neighbor understands the importance of growing cane for the dry season. The cane tops are cut and stored once they are mature and used to feed the cattle during the long, six months of the dry season. It’s a busy morning in the field. The dogs roll and run through the field. The sharp machetes slice through the cane, and the virtuous plowman furrows the fertile earth for a blessed harvest during the dry season.
It’s Timeout for Art from Zebra Designs and Destinations. Every Thursday, we submit our drawings and Lisa tenderly and lovingly supports us in our attempts at pencil sketches and shading.
My goal this week was to improve my shading and highlight the lighter boundaries with a darker background. Every week, I feel like I am improving. But, I still like the feeling I get when sketching, more than the sketch itself. It is a tiny Zen moment in my daily life because there is no past, no future…only the now. My perceptions are keener, and my life is richer when I sketch. Thank you for this, Lisa. You are a great inspiration to me.
This week, I walked the beach and found the skull of the Gar that Julio hit over the head with two rocks. Growing out of its eyeball socket was the sprout of a Jacote tree.
“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?” ~Edgar Allan Poe
This week’s Timeout for Art challenge is brought to you by Zeebra Designs and Destinations. Lisa, I anxiously await your challenge every Thursday. Thank you for the inspiration. I think my waiting for mangoes has come to an end.
Princesa and I share mangoes every morning over the barbed wire fence. She bellows…I respond. She slobbers, then bellows for more. Sometimes she lets me pet her while she’s munching on mangoes.
While drawing today’s challenge, I was in a contemplative mood, thinking about the cattle and other animals barely surviving on Ometepe Island at the beginning of the rainy season. For six dry months we all endure the heat, dust, and brittle grass. Then…mango season arrives..glorious juicy mangoes enrich all of our lives once again. They nourish our bodies and our souls giving us hope for a prosperous harvest. Princesa and I are both happy….the wait for mangoes has ended.