WANDERING OFF INTO SATURDAYS’ DAWNS (2014)

Many Saturdays, I pack my journal and my camera into my shoulder bag, and go off a-wandering. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Off in another corner of cyberspace, I photograph the dawning of a new Saturday and write a meditation on the day to come.

On weekends, I tend to wake up several hours before the dawn. I find that in the silence of those dark hours, I can more easily sink into words, into creativity (and often the internet connection is much better). The streets may echo with an occasional vehicle, with an all-night party echoing down from a barrio high up on the hills, a procession wending down narrow streets.

Then the dawn comes … perhaps with birdsong, perhaps with the steps of someone out on the calle below. And then the slow revealing of a new day.

 

Saturday is the time of the week to dedicate to household tasks: cleaning, laundry and market.  No matter for how long I stay in a place, I keep this practice, this discipline. It helps me to keep a routine even when I am traveling, and also helps me to keep on budget.

After those tasks, I then have the rest of the day to go off a-wandering and exploring, journal and camera tucked into my shoulder bag, ready to capture lives and landscapes in poetry and photographs.

But, indeed, some Saturdays I cannot escape to go off a-wandering. My desk may be piled too high with projects to complete, or the seasonal rains (downpour – aguaceros) may keep me inside. I take the time, then, to work on poetry or submissions.

 

Today, I share some of my Saturday dawn meditations with you, from 2014. In future weeks I shall share other years’ morning twilight musings with you.

And no matter where or how you live, take a day every week to go exploring where you are. Even if you are not traveling, be a tourist in your hometown. Go off and see the unknown barrios (neighborhoods), museums and markets – and write poetry and stories, take photographs or your day’s experiences.

Where shall I go off to? Where shall you? Until we next meet – SAFE JOURNEYS!

July 26, 2014 – A new day is dawning as I prepare for my usually walk-about, wandering and exploring, journal and camera tucked into my shoulder bag … photo © Lorraine Caputo

August 9, 2014 – This Saturday has dawned golden – hopes of much sunshine provoked. photo © Lorraine Caputo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo © Lorraine Caputo

September 20, 2014

I sit awaiting the dawn to spill colors across a new day.

To have a spectacular sunrise (or sunset), you need to have just the right amount of clouds in the sky. Too little, and the sun’s rays have no place to snag, no folds in which to pool. Too many, and the sun is muted.

But this morning the sky is über-cloudy, with only a few spaces where blue is emerging.

Indeed, here the rainy season has arrived. At 3 in the afternoon (or perhaps at 5), the rumbles begin echoing through the valley and down the narrow cobblestone streets. Then the crisp thunder overhead, the sharp, ragged lightening. Torrential rain and hail. Within an hour – perhaps more – it passes, as to breathe deeply after such wrath. Perhaps it has not ended, perhaps it shall weep throughout the evening, throughout the night.

Perhaps come next morning, the sky will awaken sunny, clear. Perhaps the emotions spent the night before will continue to cloud another day.

 

photo © Lorraine Caputo

November 8, 2014

When I awoke several hours before the dawn, heavy quilted clouds blanketed the sky. A thick band wavered over the unseen river.

But as the first dawn colors began to touch the sky, the quilt began to fray. And once the sun crested the eastern hill of this holy jaguar valley, the day turned golden.

I bathe in that newly risen star, writing these words, tucking my journal and camera into my shoulder bag …

 

photo © Lorraine Caputo

November 15, 2014

I was awake before the dawn. Birds softly sang for a short spell before falling silent. A dog barked – just a few yaps – then quieted. No traffic, no people …

This should have been my clue that this dawn would be mute. Nay – nary a touch of faded pink, of washed gold tinted the sky.

Layer of clouds upon layer of clouds. A thin, white band backdropped by slate-blue. The distant volcano half-visible, its snow blending into the white clouds beyond.

If the rains don’t come too soon this day, perhaps I shall be off a-wandering and exploring, journal and camera tucked into my shoulder bag …

… ready to capture lives and landscapes in poetry and photographs …

 

photo © Lorraine Caputo

November 29, 2014

Morning twilight is just beginning to paint the sky.

At this hour, the bald-headed man in the apartment above the corner bar is still blaring his music – audible through his shuttered doors and windows. (At least the off-key karaoke singing stopped before 2 a.m.)

All night I have been gathering information about submissions – and have sent off two poetry manuscripts.

But now I think it is time to reflect upon this new day a-dawning … and get a few hours precious sleep before heading to the market.

photo © Lorraine Caputo

December 13, 2014

This Saturday had dawned golden …

I walked out to the terrace to bath in that light …

But the call of long-neglected tasks called me to finally be done …

The sky cleared to a deep robin-egg blue, and so I did the wash and hung it

And then a late trip to the market, slipping through crowded streets, protecting my eggs for many blocks from the multitudes of holiday vendors and buyers crowding the walks and streets.

Now at this noon, dark clouds have rolled in …

Usually on Saturday, I go off a-wandering and exploring, journal and camera tucked into my shoulder bag, to capture lives and landscapes in poetry and photographs …

But in this rainy season, perhaps I shall opt to journey within today …

 

Drop by next month to go a-wandering into Saturdays’ Dawns of 2015.

Until then – explore, delight your senses …. and Safe Journeys!

 

 

NEW PUBLICATIONS : Poetic and Travel

It has been awhile since I was last in this corner of cyberspace (13 December 2016, to be precise). I want to offer my apologies.

The reason is that during these past few months, I was involved in a large, dream project. (More on that in a future installment of my publications round-up!)

But once again, I am picking up the threads of other creations – and I look forward to sharing with you many more articles, poetry and photo-essays here at Latin America Wanderer.

If you have any suggestions or requests for future topics, please leave them in the comments below.

Despite being caught up in that huge project, my poetry and travel writing still continued to appear in journals and on websites around the world. Spend the afternoon browsing through the list (with links) below …. and until we next meet …..

Safe Journeys!

notes-from-the-patagonia

My newest chapbook of poetry : Notes from the Patagonia. photo ©Lorraine Caputo

NEW LITERARY EXPRESSIONS

Notes from the Patagonia (Chicago: dancing girl press, 2017) – chapbook / poemario

“Meditating Twilight” in Blue Heron Review (Winter 2017)

(+ photography!)

“Within this Obscure Dawn,” “Isla Alacrán, “Chi (Standing Five Elements),” “Infinite” and “Traversing the Night” in Peacock Journal

El Estero is one of the many secluded beaches just outside of Puerto Villamil, and among the Top 9 Things to Do and See on Isabela Island in the Galápagos. photo © Lorraine Caputo

El Estero is one of the many secluded beaches just outside of Puerto Villamil, and among the Top 9 Things to Do and See on Isabela Island in the Galápagos. photo © Lorraine Caputo

NEW TRAVEL EXPRESSIONS

            Insider’s Galapagos / Galapagos Travel Planner (including ghostwritten articles)

Galapagos Islands: What Happens in March

Galapagos Islands – What Happens in February

Isabela Island: The Galapagos Islands’ Wild West

Baltra Island: The Galapagos’ Fifth Inhabited Island

Galapagos Islands: What Happens in January

Top 9 Things To See And Do On Isabela Island

Floreana Island: Longest Occupied Galapagos Island

NEW PUBLICATIONS : Poetic and Travel

The recent past has been full of adventures. For three months, I was on a desert isle in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Much too often, the internet would disappear for several hours or even several days at a time. The electricity, too, would plunge us into primitive darkness. But all of this it allowed me time for reflection, as I shared in the article “SILENCE AND SOLITUDE : The Universe’s Call to Disconnect.”

These adventures kept me from spending more time with you, sharing the wonders of Latin America. But it has not kept the outside world from continuing on, including my publications in other corners of cyberspace (and even in print form).

And so it’s time, again, to do a round-up of my recent expressions and their publications. My poetry and travel writing is continuing to appear regularly in journals and on websites around the world. Just click on the journal or article title and be ready to shift away to other worlds ….

Safe Journeys!

 

Ever ready to give a poetry reading: My “traveling poetry” books with over 25 years of works, in English and in Spanish. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Ever ready to give a poetry reading: My “traveling poetry” books with over 25 years of works, in English and in Spanish. photo © Lorraine Caputo

 

NEW LITERARY EXPRESSIONS

“Strange Light” and “Shades,” Chachalaca Review (2016)

(Note: You have to scroll down a few poems from the “Strange Light” to encounter “Shades.”)

“Dream Stalker” in Tigershark (issue 12, October 2016)

 

Tortuga Bay is one of the Top 9 Things to Do and See on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Tortuga Bay is one of the Top 9 Things to Do and See on Santa Cruz Island in the Galápagos. photo © Lorraine Caputo

NEW TRAVEL EXPRESSIONS

            Insider’s Galapagos / Galapagos Travel Planner (including ghostwritten articles)

Top 9 Things to Do & See on San Cristóbal

Galapagos Islands: What Happens in December

Top 9 Things to See and Do on Santa Cruz Island

Galapagos Islands: What happens in November

Santa Cruz Island: In the Middle of the Galapagos

San Cristóbal: The Galapagos Islands’ Capital Isle

Galapagos Islands: What happens in October

Recipe Corner : CHILI

 

 

The perfect cold weather dish: Steaming hot, spicy hot Chili! photo © Lorraine Caputo

The perfect cold weather dish: Steaming hot, spicy hot Chili! photo © Lorraine Caputo

The changing seasons herald steaming bowls of Chili. The instable weather of the coming Spring and of Autumn’s end are the times to sit down to this gut-warming classic of Capsicum hot peppers.

In the US – the purported birthplace of this dish – October is National Chili Month, whereas 23 February is National Chili Day.

Chili Mysteries

I love coffee, I love tea

I love the java jive and it loves me

Coffee and tea and the java and me

A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

 

Boston bean (soy beans)

Green bean (cabbage and greens)

I’m not keen about a bean

Unless it is a chili chili bean (boy!)

 – “Java Jive

by Milton Drake and Ben Oakland

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Chili became a life-saving meal for many because it could be made cheaply for hordes of hungry people. This stick-to-the-ribs dish was often served along with a cup of Joe, as this song from that era reflects. Chili, though, is a dish much older than the Great Depression.

In fact, two huge questions loom about Chili: What is it and what are its origins?

For most United Statiens, Chili is a spicy stew of red kidney beans, ground beef, tomatoes and lots of hot chili with other spices with its roots in Texas and the US Southwest – all formerly part of the Mexico.

The International Chili Society response to the query seems to support this. It states, “The mixture of meat, beans, peppers, and herbs was known to the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayan Indians long before Columbus and the conquistadores.”

And indeed, in ole Mexico, you will find beans spiced with lots of Capsicum and some pork fat back thrown in. But if you ask a Mexican about what United Statiens call Chili, you’ll most likely get a blank stare and a fierce denial that the dish has its roots south of the Río Bravo.

North of that river (called the Rio Grande by those Anglos on the other side), Texas claims Chili as its official state dish. According to legend, this Tex-Mex standard was born on the broad Texas plains during cattle drives. It was a dish easy to throw together over the evening campfire. And ask any down-home Texan, and you’ll get the emphatic answer that chili is ONLY meat and hot chili peppers – no beans and no tomatoes.

No matter – here’s my recipe, ideal for the hostel kitchen or on your camp stove. I’m a devoted chili bean aficionada, which makes this dish perfect for vegans, vegetarians – and yes, even carnivores!

¡Buen provecho!

 

CHILI

Estimated cooking time: 20-30 minutes

For: Vegans, Vegetarians, Carnivores

 

2 tablespoons of oil

1 pound / ½ kilogram of beef (ground, or cut into 1/2 –inch / 1.5-centimeter chunks) – optional

1 large onion, diced

1 large green pepper, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

3 large tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 can of red or kidney beans

2-3 tablespoons chili powder and/or 1 hot pepper, minced

Heat the oil in a 3-liter pot. Add onion (and beef) and sauté until golden. Add the green pepper and garlic, sautéing until soft. If using fresh chili pepper, toss in and sauté until the aroma rises. Add the tomatoes and salt; sauté until tomatoes begin to juice.

Throw in the can of beans plus one can of water, and the chili powder. Mix well. Turn down the heat and allow the flavors to merge, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot with crackers crumbled in or with cornbread.

 

Tips

  • In Mexico and Central America, the chili pepper is properly called chile (pronounced chee-lay). In South America, it is called ají (pronounced ah-hee).
  • Chili powder can be difficult to find in some Latin American countries. When you find it, stock up! Note: Avoid ají para seco in Ecuador; this is primarily a coloring for food and has no kick.
  • For extra seasonings, you may also add cumin (comino) or oregano (oregano).
  • Vegetarians can add gluten, soy or other vegetable protein if they like.
  • Some folk like to toss in diced carrot, zucchini, corn or other vegetables.

 

And for something different ….

  • For a one-pot meal: After about 10 minutes, layer the top with cornbread batter. Cook covered for 15 minutes more, until the cornbread springs back when lightly touched. Do not stir the chili!
  • You can also mix in ½ cup of quinoa with the beans. Increase water to 2 ½ cans.
NEW PUBLICATIONS : Poetic and Travel

NEW PUBLICATIONS : Poetic and Travel

It’s time for the bimonthly round-up of recent publications of my poetry and travel writing, which are continuing to appear regularly in journals and on websites around the world.

And I have (finally) hit the Big Leagues in the literary world! Check out my story that appeared in Prairie Schooner – as well as travel advice for exclusively for women (though you men might pick up a few useful tips, too!) and a review by a travelling family I met.

Safe Journeys!

Ever ready to give a poetry reading: My “traveling poetry” books with over 25 years of works, in English and in Spanish. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Ever ready to give a poetry reading: My “traveling poetry” books with over 25 years of works, in English and in Spanish. photo © Lorraine Caputo

 

NEW LITERARY EXPRESSIONS

“We Ain’t Supposed to Play,” in 3:33 Sports Short, Prairie Schooner (22 September 2016)

Playing ball in the streets of Cartagena. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Playing ball in the streets of Cartagena. photo © Lorraine Caputo

NEW TRAVEL EXPRESSIONS

AndesTransit

10 Things to Know When Traveling Sola

Insider’s Galapagos / Galapagos Travel Planner (including ghostwritten articles)

Galapagos Islands: what happens in September

Floreana Island: Off the Beaten Galapagos Track

Santiago Island: A Hidden History of Colonization in the Galapagos Islands

 

AND FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT …

Jessica and Will homeschool their two pre-teen children – with an international twist. Each  year, they choose a different country in which to live, so that Avalon and Largo also learn other cultures and languages, They have lived in Costa Rica, Ecuador – and have just begun their latest adventure in the south of France.

Follow them at Goodie Goodie Gumdrop. They are truly inspiring!

History In Quito + Weekly Round Up

SILENCE AND SOLITUDE : The Universe’s Call to Disconnect

SILENCE AND SOLITUDE : The Universe’s Call to Disconnect

One of the greatest necessities … is to discover creative solitude.

 – Carl Sandberg

 

Sometimes one needs the silence, the solitude – if for nothing else than to meditate on where one has been, where one is now … and ponder where the road may lead to wander in the future.

Sometimes that silence, that solitude is chosen. A few weeks in a beach hut in Zorritos is always a wonderful tonic for me. To spend long hours soaking in the hot springs up in the desert hills. Hours wandering the beach. Hours swimming in the Pacific Ocean, feeling my muscles stretch with each stroke. Hours sitting on the bamboo porch, writing poetry – or swaying in the hammock reading.

Or anyplace along the Caribbean. That warm sea serenades my spirit. A home for meditating, creating poetry, exploring nature.

Sunset at Zorritos. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Sunset at Zorritos. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Sometimes, though, we are called from without to be in silence and solitude … called to re-learn the old ways, before internet and cell phones (which I don’t have anyways).

And such is my place in this present. A thousand kilometers at sea, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. At night I hear its thunderous voice with the incoming tide. The wind rises, banging my door ajar wide open or closing it with a bang – a ghostly message to open my self to what is happening at that moment. Or a ghostly message to release my self of it.

Such is my place in this present. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Such is my place in this present. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Although the village is just a few kilometers away and its multi-colored lights serpentine across the night bay, here it is another world.

My few neighbors are scientists or students working to preserve these islands’ unique environment, and their flora and fauna. (Me – I’m here to preserve their work for future generations of investigators.)

Like the tourists, though, that flock here to gawk at nature’s bounty, we are here only for a while. We see specimens of that species Homo sapiens turiensis every day. Many colleagues walk or bike those several kilometers to interact with that world, only to return late at night on a dark road.

I prefer to be here at night. I prefer to sit out on the porch, watching the violently colored sunset over in that direction where the town lay. Venus is bright against that pallet. Then I watch the full moon rise above the long-extinct volcano’s slopes, now covered with wild vegetation. To wonder at the multitudes of stars dusted by the Milky Way, Mars bright red near Scorpio’s curling tail.

I listen to the sea, to the call of some night bird, the rustle of something unseen in the heavy growth of saltbush and espino.

Until the clouds begin to drift in off the bay. It is now time to repose, to drift away on that spirit serenade ….

Only to awaken with the dawning of a new day misted by the seasonal garúa and mockingbird melodies.

A golden dawn, assuring more garúa mist top fall this morn. photo © Lorraine Caputo

A golden dawn, assuring more garúa mist top fall this morn. photo © Lorraine Caputo

After a day of measurements and studies, of translations and writing reports, I often head to the beach near my temporary home.

At the gate, village youth park their bikes and head off, surfboards under arms. In these garúa months, the wind comes from the south, causing the bay’s waters to swell into curving waves.

I sit on the time-worn lava rock, watching those young folk bobbing in the platinum-blue waters. When a wave begins to rise, one paddles and catches it, riding the curl until it breaks into white froth.

Overhead fly blue-footed boobies. A yellow warbler hops amidst the purslane, pecking at the coarse soil. Behind me, an iguana sprawls, resting after his algae feast.

Life within a tidal pool. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Life within a tidal pool. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Or perhaps when I arrive, it is low tide (like it was today). Now it is a solitary beach, with only a few errant Homo sapiens turiensis taking photos of a pelican atop a mound of rocks, hunched against the chill breeze.

There is a silence broken by the shriek of an ashen-colored gull. A ruddy turnstone steps across these black fields, as does a whimbrel and over yonder, a dusky heron. Overhead, a boobie passes. A frigatebird circles over the shallows.

Carefully I step across the tumbled, fractured lava and peer into the tidal pools, at the life that is within. How many will find safe haven until the waters once more rise? A yellow warbler bathes in a small pool captured between algae-greened stones.

Yellow warbler bathing in a tidal pool. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Yellow warbler bathing in a tidal pool. photo © Lorraine Caputo

I take off my shoes. Feeling the rough sands of broken coral, shells and sea urchin spines beneath my bare feet, I begin to meld with the energy of this enchanted place. I merge my energy with its during qi chi chuan.

Doing Standing Five Elements, I feel the isles’ volcanic fire and the cool waters that wash this shore. Earth that slowly breaks down into soil, to accept the mangrove woods that take root. And finally the metal of minerals belched from the planet’s soul. Bringing all these energies into me, to balance me.

Then I Yang-dance more than a hundred postures across this coarse strand, shutting doors, grasping a grass sparrow’s tail, my hands waving like the clouds passing through this heaven, waving to Buddha …

Meditatively I close the session. The western sky over the village is awash with golden fuchsia. I gather my shoes in hand and walk barefoot to my temporary home to eat dinner under starlight, to the tidal music.

The full moon veiled by clouds coming in, promising another garúa-misted dawn. photo © Lorraine Caputo

The full moon veiled by clouds coming in, promising another garúa-misted dawn. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Silence and solitude is what this place gifts to me every moment.

Yet sometimes the silence deepens … the electricity may go out, plunging all in lava-black darkness. Not even those multi-color tourist hotel lights paint the bay.

Sometimes the internet fades away, cutting all ties with the outside world that lies beyond those clouds that bear garúa.

This is when I am reminded to return, to re-learn the old ways. To sit at the table on my porch, listening to the mockingbird song and the high tide, writing these words to share with you, to let you know that indeed I am still here.

Hope, I do, to be able to send this meditation to you from this island a thousand miles out at sea.

 

The earth has its music for those who will listen …

George Santayana

 

NEW PUBLICATIONS : Poetic and Travel

Whew! Life is turning into a whirlwind here! Come this time next month – if all falls into place – I shall be on the road again ….

But in the midst of all of this, my poetry and travel writing is continuing to appear regularly in journals and on websites around the world.

Safe Journeys!

Ever ready to give a poetry reading: My “traveling poetry” books with over 25 years of works, in English and in Spanish. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Ever ready to give a poetry reading: My “traveling poetry” books with over 25 years of works, in English and in Spanish. photo © Lorraine Caputo

 

NEW LITERARY EXPRESSIONS

“Dance for a New Year,” in Prachya Review (Bangladesh) (Summer 2016)

“To the Killing Fields” in Caravel Literary Arts Journal (nº 2, July 2016)

 

 

365 Days on the Fiesta Continent by Kali Kucera and Lorraine Caputo /Andes Transit, 2016). Photo used with permission.

365 Days on the Fiesta Continent by Kali Kucera and Lorraine Caputo /Andes Transit, 2016). Photo used with permission.

NEW TRAVEL EXPRESSIONS

 

AndesTransit

365 Days on the Fiesta Continent by Kali Kucera and Lorraine Caputo

Our new book is out, “365 Days on the Fiesta Continent”, a guide to festival hopping across South America. No matter what time you visit, get our book and make your plan to never miss the party!

 

Insider’s Galapagos / Galapagos Travel Planner

(including ghostwritten articles)

Galapagos Islands: what happens in August

How to Get to the Galapagos Islands

Souvenirs: Bringing Galapagos Home with You