Monday, September 28, 2015

Rainbow Nights

September 28, 2015

“Mother Earth”
Joshua Tree 2005/2006
New Year’s Eve Day

I was so excited to see last night's eclipse (in a good spot for it, along the coast of Ecuador).
It was cloudy here, so I wasn't able to see it, but I went to the beach anyway to experience it.
Here is something I just wrote to another friend of mine (Rick Hoefer) about my indelible impressions from last night:

"How to put into words?"
It was a cloudy night here...I had the beach pretty much to myself (with a exception of a few passerby)...
I was listening to "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" on my I pod (on repeat).
And though I couldn't see the eclipse, I was acutely aware of the the magic happening overhead,
Sort of like how the Divine works behind the scenes in our lives, whether or not we always perceive it .
And, especially as I waded into the ocean, feet firmly dug into the sand/Pachamama as I relished the life-giving waves washing over them,
...I felt (how to say this without sounding woo-woo?)....I felt a supernatural connection - an electricity of being totally connected to the the Universe and to each other.
And I was unexpectedly brought to my knees with gratitude.
As I sat on the shore afterwards, a bright/hazy light appeared on very low northwest ocean horizon.
I thought too low for it to be the moon, but also too bright to be lights from a fishing boat.
I was mesmerized. I kept rubbing my eyes as I watched it for awhile.
And then, I turned to look in another direction for a moment...and it was gone.
But it was there...the promise.

A night time rainbow.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Beautiful Creature

September 7, 2015

Photo Courtesy of Erwin Musper
Last Friday started off as day like any other until around 2PM, when urgent messages were sent out about a beached whale on the playa in Curia (the next town north of Olón)…all hands needed to help push a whale back out.

Each year, from June through September, those of us living along the coast of Ecuador are treated to spectacular views of humpback whales (“ballenas jorobadas”) frolicking and spouting just off our shoreline during their annual migration.
The response from the community was immediate and amazing.

Photo Courtesy of David & Kathy Meland

Photo Courtesy of David & Kathy Meland

Photo Courtesy of David & Kathy Meland
The net before it was cut off.

Photo Courtesy of David & Kathy Meland
First Responders

The unfortunate whale (to anyone’s best guess, an adolescent juvenile) had gotten tangled in fishing net and was floundering.
When I arrived shortly later, the net had been successfully cut off (big nod to David Meland and wife Kathy, as well as others) and the whale was in knee-deep water being pushed out by a number of hearty souls.

I got a few pictures, but swiftly sent my camera back to shore (it’s supposed to be waterproof, but I’ve never actually tested that function)…and it was a hindrance during rescue efforts.
The determined struggle to push this magnificent creature into deeper water lasted for hours.

Photo off my camera
Courtesy of Ecuador friend that offered
to take pic shortly before I sent my camera
 back to shore
during rescue effort.

Photo Courtesy of Erwin Musper

Its badly cut fin stained the ocean with blood, and many of us worried that this beautiful being likely would not make it should exertions to send it into deeper water succeed.
But, boy, everyone tried!


As the afternoon wore on, the tide started coming in – which was welcome, except with it came some huge and powerful breakers, washing over the whale and rescuers alike.

Photo Courtesy of Erwin Musper

This was kind of scary, because the whale’s wounded fin was covered with razor sharp barnacles, and several times the waves were formidable enough to roll the whale over on to its back.  Not a good situation for either the gentle giant or the rescuers, but subsequent waves would right him back up.
But that whale – what a magnificent animal! He was in deep enough water to spout through his blow hole, and occasionally would flap his enormous tail to assist in his rescue.

Photo Courtesy of Erwin Musper

It’s like he knew we were trying to help him.  
I will always carry a memory of this soft, gentle, and wise eye looking at us with gratefulness as we pushed.
But it was clear by the end of afternoon that the valiant whale was losing too much blood and strength (and rolling over too many times by then).

Sadly, the whale did not make it through the night and is now buried on a nearby hillside.
That said, I am impressed by the community grapevine communication (locals and expats alike) and to those that responded.
Actually, I’m awed.
And the opportunity to touch, pet, comfort the whale (as best as able) is an experience hard to describe.
We all wish the outcome would have been more positive.
So to you, Beautiful Creature…swim now in the heavenly ocean, and know that your too short life touched many of us deeply.

Photo Courtesy of Erwin Musper


Thank you, Erwin Musper for taking the time to upload it to you-tube so that it can be shared more widely.