The Minimalist Challenge


“Simplicity is complex. It’s never simple to keep things simple. Simple solutions require the most advanced thinking.”
― Richie Norton

I’ll confess! I don’t walk willingly into the minimalist world. I constantly fight it because I am a collector of artifacts, travel mementos, of everything! My life is one big collection of memoirs! Yet, living on a small island, in the middle of a huge sweet sea, in the middle of Nicaragua, in the middle of Central America, I have been forced to reduce and reuse because: we have NO trash pick-up, there is no Super Wal-Mart or even a mall on Ometepe Island, and life is undeniably simpler.

I guess that can be a good thing. Right? I am forced to reduce my carbon footprint. My neighbor, Marina, cleans my house three days a week. She constantly reminds me that I have many “chunches” (things) as she waves my dirty old underwear, used as a cleaning rag, under my nose. “Look at this dirt!” she says shaking her head and waving my old underwear.

So, I will…reluctantly…take Annette’s Minimalist Challenge because I know I must figure out a way to actively reduce the amount of plastic and tin we collect around the house.
“I would like to challenge YOU, my reader, to think of at least one action you can adopt in 2015 that will reduce plastic and other throw-away products; that will bring down energy usage; and/or minimize unnecessary consumption of any kind.”

I started feeding my dog and cats a little canned dog food every day as a treat. These tin cans add up, so this year I made a Christmas tree out of them.
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Haiku Wind


In fury I sought
to outrun the wind, but I
scattered like pollen

High waves high wind

 January and February are typically months of strong winds. Off go the chickens, rudely forced from their night perches like tipsy dancers on an oil slick. Leaves tremble, trees once sentinel straight, bow to a demanding commander. High waves toss glass and pottery shards on the wind-swept beach, while volcanic sand blasts the shards to a brilliant sheen.

The Che is tossed like a toy boat

Howling winds invade the ferries and launchas like assaulting pirates. The Che is tossed around like a toy boat, resulting in a broken ramp when the hinges and chains were snapped like shoestrings. All transportation to and from Ometepe Island halts, stranding tourists and locals. Businesses waiting for deliveries, run low on supplies. Angel, the ice cream man, can’t deliver my ice cream sandwiches because they’re stuck on the mainland. The vegetable truck postpones a trip to our house until they refurbish their supplies. Plantain truck drivers nervously pace the dock hoping the overflowing truck full of plantains can be sold on time.

Our road stops beyond our house. Our neighbor needs a boat.

The beastly erosion ravenously eats away at the shoreline devouring everything in its path. Cradled in exposed clay banks, ancient treasures abound. Footprints of the wind flatten the sugar cane fields. A sail of a dugout canoe flies pregnant and engorged with wind. Sandinista flags flap with national pride. Green and pink plastic bags ( Nicaraguan flowers) drift on currents and collide in tangled splashes of color like an impressionist painting. The wind scatters swarms of complaining mosquitoes, while children shelter their faces grateful for the respite, yet teary-eyed from the blinding invasion of sand, dirt, and grit.

Nothing is sacred, nothing remains the same after a wind storm. The wind is a champion chameleon. ever-changing as it passes by, with the ability to make the earth bend to its forces, plead for mercy, and eventually surrender to its changes.

My only hope is that we can leave the island on Wednesday for our flight back to the states. If not gone with the wind, we’ll be seeking shelter from the storm.