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Gimme Shelter

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

Well, looks like I’m in Ecuador for the duration.

My home for a while: a 3 acre farm outside of Ibarra, Ecuador

This Sunday, I was in Quito preparing to fly back to the US after 5 months in South America. We received word that flights and buses would be cancelled after 12:00 am Monday night. All borders closed, no one in or out of the country. Of course, my flight was scheduled for 12:35. Phones and internet service for airlines have been overwhelmed, so Monday afternoon I went to the main office of United Airlines, waited on line for an hour and was informed that the earliest they could get me on a flight would be April 6, in about 3 weeks. That’s if the borders open on schedule. We’ll see.

After a mad dash out of the city before all public transportation shut down (also at midnight) like it was the beginning of The Walking Dead I landed here, 15 minutes outside of the small Andean city of Ibarra, 2 hours from Quito. Lila and her husband picked me up from the bus station. I found their place on Airbnb, an old hacienda converted into a family home and occasional guesthouse. It is stunningly beautiful, charmingly ramshackle, surrounded by mountains. The climate is perfect. The grounds are about 3 acres and I have my own casita in one corner. The neighbors are close, but not too close. Medicinal herbs grow here and there which means fresh tea and a little immune boost every morning. Chickens, geese, horses, dogs, and a family of peacocks roam the grounds. Oranges from the orchard, chilies, tomatoes. I bought homemade soap from a family friend. The nights are absolutely silent, I’m sleeping like a rock.

Two days ago the couple’s children and grandchildren arrived from Quito to stay. We’ve been cooking meals together, passing time talking, sharing new information and watching the news, taking walks on these quiet country roads. Today a stranded couple from Canada will join us as well, possibly another American a bit later on. Togetherness is a comfort. I’m far from my family, but if I have to ride out a plague in a foreign country I don’t think I could have been luckier to find a better place to do it.

I think a lot about The End Of The World As We Know It, not that this is it necessarily, but anyone with eyes can see hard times are on the horizon if drastic changes are not made. I imagine what resilience, health inside and outside, could look like. What I would hope to create as time moves forward. I wonder if I should be putting myself on the front lines of this crisis in some more active way...but maybe that will come later. For now, this place whispers this word to me: resilience. In this moment, I’m happy to be taught what’s here to be learned.

The courtyard outside my house

Mint and such


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