Saturday, June 20, 2009

Home, Sweet, Cold and Rainy Home...

June 18, 2009

I am so happy to be home, I've said it out loud a hundred times these past several days and thought it another thousand. Snow was predicted for the entire week but the weather hasn't cooperated and it's been rain, non-stop. Aside from being grateful to be home, just being home is happiness enough, I have electricity! That is how I can be sitting here writing this post, listening to music from Tapestry of the Times podcasts while outside wild Patagonia happens.

Greg has stoked the morning fire and brought me my coffee. The Rios Desague and Azul are raging monsters now, almost frightening to look at. There are aji peppers and garlic drying on a screen above the wood stove, and a pot of beans soaking on the stove. Later there will be bread in the oven.

Adding happiness to happiness, there was mail for me yesterday at the correos. A package I mailed to myself from Temuco with spices in it, and a letter from my Aunt Dorothy with news of her bowling team, weather and bits of news and thoughts from northwestern Ohio.

Later in the day, a neighbor from Azul clopped down on his horse, bundled in his traditional wool poncho to check up on the hydro operation. We sat around the kitchen table eating soft pretzels with honey and horseradish, and drinking mint tea while the rain maintained and the rivers rose. He is the angel who worked on the hydro while we were gone and got it up and running. He has installed micro-hydros for several neighbors out here and talked about how it felt to watch a 70-year old man in the mountains flip a light switch for the first time. An amazing feeling he said. But then he said he feels a tinge of sadness when TV's start appearing and direct TV comes. Things start changing, he said. He looked around and said, "Enjoy this now, because it's all changing," and I knew what he meant. When we become wired, when children watch commercials for breakfast cereals and tennis shoes along with their cartoons, when the outside world comes in, we are no longer the same. We start thinking we need what we in truth only want. Life and lifestyles change. Simplicity gets lost. Traditions become convoluted, or lost.

Dark by six in the evening, we settle in with some music and books. Even though there is electric, we light a candle for the soft feeling, and put some more wood on the fire. It is so very wonderful to be home.

June 22 ?

Ismael came this week and cut down a tree that had half snapped in the May snows and was menacing the house. I bought three new pairs of medias (socks) from Nono.

We hauled in wood, endured five days of rain and had an afternoon of sunshine. I wasted a few hours putting together a video of Chaiten for Youtube. Chorongo in Chaiten is a compilation of images and videos from before and after the volcano erupted. I added the soundtrack from a video of our friend Nick LaPenna improvising some music on a Chorongo while we sat in his tour van waiting for the bus to Futa.

The Youtube video, Chorongo in Chile is below.

This coming week will be busy (so it will probably snow, and the King still has not broken down and purchased TIRE CHAINS). He has been warned that this Gal will NOT be pushing him out of snow banks this year. One day this coming week I must finished cleaning out the rental cabin in town, and at least stack the remaining boxes by the door. One day I will go with Nono to Argentina to the mill and buy a 30-pound sack of ground whole wheat flour. Of course that also means hauling it down the path in the wheelbarrow, which I'm not very good at yet so I look like a segment from a Jackass episode weaving and tipping my way down trying to balance the barrow. One day we must go pay for Greg's follow-up visit at the hospital, pay for the dinner and our overnight at Sur Andes our first night back, and turn in the last of our permanent residency documents.

We were going to butcher the pig this month, but since Greg and I are not eating meat anymore, except for fish and skinless chicken), I traded the pig for an account at the vegetable market in town. The owner is happy...he is going to breed her and sell the piglets, and I have a nice fat account that will supply us fresh fruits and vegetables all winter long. A happy ending for all concerned.

And that's about it for us here at Latitude 34, in the dimension known as Futalandia. Be careful if you's true that if you eat the purple berries you are destined (or doomed) to return. I know...that's what happened to me.


Gordo said...

Hey Vicki, another great post. The youtube is not available due to length. Any chance you could edit it?

Vicki said...

Hi Gordo...yeah, I didn't cramp down on the ending music so it looked like 14 minutes. I'll have to figure that out. In the meantime I put up the blogger version which plays really terrible. Some great volcano pictures in it though.

I'll see what I can do. Thanks for the compliment!

Stephanie said...

Hi vicki, I came across your blog when some other chile Gringas recently did a group post and yours was included. You write so well and give such a wonderful description of the beauty in life's simplicity that you run the risk of everyone who reads your blog packing their bags to move down there! Thanks for sharing your life in this way.

Vicki said...

Thanks very much Stephanie...however, one would be wise to read this blog entry:

which I wrote sobbing and cursing almost a year ago. This is a stunning place, but it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I really appreciate your comment, and I enjoy your blog very much too!

Vicki said...

aaaah, perfect example of Futalandia...we left town last night in a freezing rain to go home, the truck loaded with food, beer and other important supplies. We got about 15 miles out and the one-lane gravel road along Lago Lancanoa was closed. A double-trailer semi had lost control and overturned, blocking the only road south. The carabineros said it would be at least another five hours to pull it out, so we turned around and begged to stay at a friends place in Futa for the night. We hope to make it home today!

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