The Mangroves


 

 

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I decided to try something new. I subscribed to the Weekly Writing Challenge on WordPress. This week, the challenge is Stylish Imitation. Weekly Challenge here. Dr. Seuss has always been one of my favorite authors. So, in honor of Dr. Seuss, I have attempted to imitate his style in writing The Mangroves.

The Reserva Natural Isla Juan Venado is a 22 kilometer stretch of mangrove swamp in Las Penitas, Nicaragua. Ron and I took a three-hour tour through this incredible mangrove swamp. The variety of birds, turtles, and other wildlife awed me. The entire ride, reminded me of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax and the need to protect this fragile area. Unfortunately, my camera’s batteries went dead half way through the tour. Isn’t that always the case? Hopefully, my words, in delirious imitation of Dr. Seuss, will portray my feelings about the need to protect this nature reserve. Enjoy!

The Mangroves

Way back in the swamp, where the mangroves still grow
and the land is still soft,
and the tides ebb and flow,
and the songs of the Green Herons go kuk, kuk, kuk, kuk…
the tides come twice daily and cover it with muck.

And I first saw the mangroves!
Born of thick, glutinous mud!
Whose aerial roots breathe with large pores in and out
Roots snorkeling and twisting for miles all about.

And, under the mangroves, I saw a brown bas-i-lisk
A Jesus like lizard, walking on water enjoying the frisk
as it darted about, eating insects, taking risks.

From the brackish waters,
where other plants cannot grow,
sprung fish nurseries and turtles,
swimming playfully below.

But those Mangroves! Those Mangroves!
Red! Black! and White!
They must be protected,
from Global Warming and blight!

Anchoring their stilt-like roots
between land and the sea,
Mangroves shelter wildlife,
and give food to you and me.
When the sea churns and wails
and the swells surge ashore,
the Mangroves, like policemen,
protect us…and more!

I felt a great calling,
an awakening, a start
I must tell the world!
We can all take a part!

With so little known of the future
it’s important to say,
You’re in charge of the mangroves,
the fish, and the bays.
The bas-i-lisks, and Green Herons
are depending on you
to monitor and protect them
and see them grow true.
Their lives…they are fragile!
Be gentle and watch
as they flourish, and breathe,
and gain strength…and don’t rush!

For life is uncertain,
we must all be aware
of the connections in nature
and the lives that we share.
We depend on one another,
through thick and through thin,
With your help… together
we can be whole once again.

 

Keeping Up with the Tourons


 

 

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The little people of the sea Have sent an answer back to me The little people’s answer was We cannot stand it, Sir, because. ~Paraphrased after Lewis Carrol

Sometimes I worry about the changes and rapid development in Nicaragua, especially for the traditional fishermen along the 100+ miles of Pacific coastline. Nicaragua is blessed with undeveloped, raw coastline. Dotted with colorful tiny fishing villages, the fishermen depend on the sea to make a living. When the roads are developed and tourism explodes, will the little people say, “We cannot stand it, Sir. Please make them go away.”?

Coastal fishing villages are often isolated, making them difficult to visit. We’ve seen the changes new roads have brought to San Juan del Sur, and soon-to-be ‘touron’ (Our son’s nickname for environmentally unconcerned tourists) infested Playa Gigante. The once charming fishing villages are overrun with tacky tourist shops, vegetarian restaurants, camera laden tourists, and surf boards and kayaks heavily chained to embedded metal poles. What will happen to the little people of the sea, whose homes and livelihoods are transformed into a concrete jungle for tourons?

Las Penitas is a short 30 minute bus ride from Leon. It is situated around a small natural harbor, which provides a safe haven for the fleet of fishing pongas. Fascinated with the daily activities of the local fishermen, we watched with trepidation, as the fishing pongas jumped huge waves to enter or exit the protected harbor. The harbor disappears at low tide, leaving dugout canoes and pongas stranded in the sand flats until the next tide rolls into the harbor freeing the boats.

Sipping our morning coffee, we eavesdropped on the conversations of the fishermen’s families waiting for the catch of the day. They discussed the cost of school supplies and beans, while chastising their children because they had taken the wooden slats off the bottom of the metal cart used to carry the fish to market. The children flopped the splintery wooden slats into the water and used them like boogie boards until the first fishing ponga sailed over the crashing waves into the harbor.

Entranced by the smells of fresh fish, the sights of salivating dogs circling the mooring pongas, the whispered swishing sounds of the frayed nets hauled to shore, the flash of sharp blades filleting the fish, and finally the raspy voices of rapid fire negotiations, the fish exchanged hands from sea to fishermen to market, as we watched the traditions of fishermen passed down generation after generation.

What will happen to the little people of the sea? Will they say, “We cannot stand it, Sir. Please make them go away.”?  Or will they passively resign themselves to keeping up with the tourons? Only time will tell.