Be the Cause

Home again

Tired but joy-filled, we arrived safe and sound at LAX last night around 10:30pm.  Breezing through US Customs was somewhat anti-climactic after all we’d been through – it seemed as if the officers should want to know more about where we’d been, the memories we had stored, and the experiences we had brought back in our hearts.  But no, a smile and a half-glance at our passports and we were on our way.  I don’t think any of us, but especially those of us “first-timers”, will be able to assimilate what this trip meant for many weeks.  I don’t feel fully at home yet; the freeway was too linear, the neon signs too bright, the drivers too cautious (though Angela still raced across the crosswalk at LAX in fear of being hit!)  My bed doesn’t quite feel right and the night sounds of Quito were strangely absent in my sleep. 

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.  I travel for travel’s sake.  The great affair is to move, to feel the needs and hitches of our lives more nearly; to come down off this feather bed of civilization and find the globe granite underfoot, and strewn with cutting flint.”  R.L. Stevenson.

“The real meaning of travel, like that of a conversation by the fireside, it the discovery of oneself through contact with other people, and its condition is self-commitment in the dialogue.”  Paul Tournier.

My heartfelt appreciation goes out to Ben & Michelle, Fred & Shveta, Kristeen, Thoi, Mike, Sri, Sukh, my fellow goddesses Joy & Criselda & Jim (!); my ‘new best friend’ Bharti, Jason and (most especially) Angela, for trekking the granite globe alongside me while allowing me to participate in a wonderous conversation of self-discovery.  Our journey is a treasure that I will hold dear and close; I am so thankful for the gift of all of you.


Well yesterday we were all good consumers, spending the remaining money we had at the market in Otavalo.  What an amazing place!  Like a swapmeet of the Andes, vendors were selling everything from food to jewelry to alpaca products for prices that made you gasp.  Beautiful hand made items that you felt guilty even bargaining for as the starting prices were so cheap.  After that, we visited a sacred lake created in the crater of a volcano when it exploded some 300 years ago.  We took a pontoon boat out and listened to the guide´s narration of the site´s geology and history.  Again, another amazing road trip, where we encountered some creative business strategies of the local children.  They would stand at either side of the roadway holding string across the road to force our car to slow down so they could come to the window and beg.  Even though giving money is not the best way to help them, it was hard to resist throwing our extra change out the window in appreciation of their entrepreneurship…

The beauty of this country is overwhelming.  It is hard to remember some times how poverty stricken it is when you meander through miles and miles of verdant green mountains interspersed with rushing rivers and cascading waterfalls.   Property like this would go for millions in the states; perhaps it serves as some consolation to those struggling to make a life here that they live in a virtual geographic paradise.  Overall, the people we encounter seem happy.  Griselda caught a snapshot of one very ancient woman pulling the string trick on the roadway.  Her face glowed with joy and glee when we handed her a few coins out the window.  She blessed us and giggled and Griselda caught this amazing look on her face that we all sat and stared at for miles afterward on her camera.  The picture of her beautiful face was much more of a gift to us then the few coins she gained from our wallets.


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