31 August 2018

Dinosaur eggs?

     Not even!

     After having planted hundreds of coconuts trees we're going to plant some more...coconut trees, palm trees, are such a visual part of beach life.  And we have enough space that I can't imagine having too many of them.  
     In the case of coconuts, which are just big seeds, we wait for them to sprout, which they do almost without fail, and then we put them in the ground.  
     But we facilitate the natural cycle.  Plant a tree.  The tree matures and produces seeds.  The seeds drop on the ground.  And this is where we step in.
    Sometimes, without interference, a seed might drop on or in an inhospitable spot.  It might sprout; it might not sprout; if it sprouts the new tree might grow; if it sprouts the new tree might not grow.
     Our interference involves providing an unimpeded location for sprouting and then our selection of an unimpeded location for growing.
     Most of these seeds are from trees I planted.  Will the circle be unbroken?  In this case there's no doubt about that.
     Here the seeds wait, open to the sun and rain and without competition from much of anything but a few pineapple plants.

Taking a detour here - which I rarely do...
     The song, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," doesn't have a damn thing to do with growing coconuts other than the obvious tie of the title to the way nature often works.  Sung over the years by the likes of Johnny Cash and his family, Joan Baez, Randy Travis, and lots of others, the song is a classic. 

     Here is a traditional rendering for anybody familiar  -or unfamiliar - with it:

      And maybe the best for last.  This version is also traditional but almost unique in that there's very little between the voices and the audience except a mic: 

26 August 2018

T.S. Eliot

     Things come to thrift stores in Bluefields compressed into very large bales; and during my years of haunting these stores there, most everything I've found has come with a tag from another thrift store...all from the United States.
     Stores of this ilk have been my metier in the U.S. for decades, with thrift store visits being more like treasure hunts than shopping.  And I've learned over the years that items in thrift stores have a 'shelf life:'
when first presented an item has one price; and two weeks (or more) later it has a lower price; and two weeks (or more) later it has an even lower price.  Then it just simply disappears.  
     There must be some central place where the unsold items go.  I never really thought about it until shopping in Bluefields, but I've learned that when most things in a thrift store in the U.S. don't sell,  they end up in another country.  And sometimes that country is Nicaragua and some of what ends up in Nicaragua goes to Bluefields.  
     Serendipity for me and T.S. Eliot.
     Again, I never really thought about where unsold thrift store stuff goes and won't do any research; but it all seems to be about recycling and the market.  I've benefited from the arrival in Bluefields of unsold stuff from Idaho - or wherever.  An extant tag might read 'Salvation Army' but I've never seen one that reads 'Salvation Army of Boise Idaho.'
     Sheets and towels and T-shirts and socks and plates and other useful items have all made their way from U.S. to False Bluff where they continue to give good service.
     And then there was T.S. Eliot sitting in the window of a Bluefields thrift store.  Nearly thirty inches from ear to toe, to say the least he's eye catching.  That might be the reason nobody in the U.S. wanted him, since it's apparent he sat through numerous price reductions before being compressed.  And his looks might also be why nobody in Bluefields seemed to want him either.  
     Whatever it might have been at his beginning, his name now is T.S. Eliot - Thrift Store Eliot rather than Thomas Stearns Eliot - and his journey is poetic in its own way.  
     Compressed, again, but this time into my suitcase, he's back in the U.S. -  still looking a bit surprised about it all.

    " Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
    Thomas Stearns Eliot

21 August 2018

El Nido and the world it sits on

     The environmental drawbacks to cement (and concrete, of which cement is a major component) have been - will always be - things we consider when building at False Bluff:  we want the look and, given our harsh coastal environment, a lot of the benefits of a block and mortar building with as few of the damaging side effects as possible
     Blueboard, which is the siding of El Nido, the small building that will be our reading room, was the kinder option.   
     But I confess the stuff made El Nido, at the edge of the Caribbean, look decidedly odd when it was first installed.

     We selected a brand of blueboard designed for exterior use and once the building was parged the place looked much less strange sitting at the edge of the sea.  
     I had done some preliminary landscaping and after putting the plants in the ground and marking where more would go, I pulled a chair onto the porch to enjoy the spectacular view - just before doing some caulking.

     Thanks to Cesper for the solution to our concerns: the man's always problem-solving.  And thanks to him and his crew for making it happen.

19 August 2018

A letter to my adopted country

Dear Nicaragua,
     The idea of False Bluff began decades ago, long before the idea had either a specific location or name. The reality began more than ten years ago when I bought the first of the pieces that now make up False Bluff today.  
     Young children have grown up and graduated from high school; and new children have been born and begun elementary school.  At least one new child was born at about the same time as one of my grandchildren although both of these children have a couple of years before they begin any formal school at all.  Young friends have finished college, begun lifetime careers, married, and then completed master's degrees in their chosen fields.  Older friends have become like family members.  Our part of Nicaragua has become home...a second home, but home nonetheless.   
     And during all this time we've dug wells and put up buildings and put plants in the ground at what has become False Bluff.  The story has been unfolding here, usually with pictures, ever since I figured out how to do this web/blog stuff. 
     I never made a conscious decision to not discuss politics during my time in Nicaragua.  I just never did it.  There were always many other - and much more important - things to do.  But the last few months of this year have been terrible for you, Nicaragua...death and destruction and discord for many reasons.  
     It was strange to spend months with you in the middle of these bad months; and this time, 'tho I still didn't talk politics, I listened to people on all sides of the spectrum. And I watched news stories that were local and national and international, something I don't even do when I'm in the United States....since I don't have a television.
     But a realization about the news coverage I was seeing during my recent stay hit me hard pretty early on: the news about events in Nicaragua resembled the news about events in the United States.  
     The local and national stories in Nicaragua were as disparate in their coverage as are, say, the Daily Wire and The New York Times...which means a lot of what was put out there was just wrong.  It's easy to tell that sort of thing when you're up close.  And all of the international news I saw or read, without fail, was as badly skewed as the local and national stories to the point that after a short time I just stopped paying attention to it.  
     This stuff is sad at home, regardless of the home I am occupying at any given moment.  All of Nicaragua has suffered, although the outrage and deaths and destruction have not been felt to the same degree in the southern autonomous region as in the western part of the country.
      In Nicaragua during the last few months some people tore up a street.  Within days other people, the people who lived nearby, went out and fixed it.
     In Nicaragua during the last few months some people burned a market.  Within days other people, the people whose livelihoods depended on being able to buy and sell at the market, did what needed to be done to be back doing business.
     In Nicaragua during the last few months some people burned or demolished a school.  Within days other people, teachers and the parents whose children attended that school, had arranged for classes elsewhere or at the same location if the damage wasn't too bad.
     Over the decade-plus since I have become involved in Nicaraguan life, I've learned things that give me hope even during the country's present hard times; and the hard times this year have confirmed what I've learned:  your people are some of the strongest and most resilient people I've ever met. 

   Thank you for letting me be part your family.

14 August 2018

False Bluff on a Bluff?

Or is it a peninsula or an island?  It is the land the separates Bluefields Bay from the Caribbean and everyone just calls it the Bluff.

False Bluff is just barley visible if you look far north up the beach.

07 August 2018