Wednesday, March 6, 2013

SOLC 6: Argentina in Technicolor

Anytime I can't think of what to write, I'm just going to go see what NewTreeMom has done lately. She gave me the idea for one of my most favorite pieces of writing I've done lately in last year's SOLC, and came through again for me last night, for today's slice...

And so I give to you, Argentina in Technicolor. I spent 6 weeks in La Plata (with brief visits to Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls), and here are pieces that are still with me nearly 8 years later. In an effort to be brief, and actually get to bed before midnight for the first time in weeks, I'm going to test my skills in brevity...

Sickly orange fruit perched in pristine trees, inedible and lost.
          Bitter or poison, I was never certain.

The Mothers' white scarves stark on stone, children unforgotten.
          A heritage of devastating loss and open wounds, decades of unrepentant power.

Single-side green ostrich feather earrings--a city of separated twins.
          Does a single earring cost half of a pair? I never found out.

The universidad: black swastikas across the face of an American president.
          The first time I saw national hostility face to face; finding ourselves saying we were Canadian.

The crisply cream stucco chapel, studded white with roses.
          The welcome sigh of a few days in quiet nature after weeks in the city.

Pounding blue water, storming or silent?
          In a place without lawsuits, a different Niagara drops away just below & between your feet.

Pale pinks and lavenders in styrofoam buckets, shared spoons.
          Sharing gelato like secrets, giggling like children, scraping the sides.

Electric hues of La Boca, with a heartbeat of the tango.
           Mission trip kids trying to keep their jaws from slacking at such street-side intimacy.

Green-tinted copper hands making horns to the crucifix.
           Ailen, an atheist, shows me the cathedral, but also it's adversaries across the plaza.

A mosaic of browns--hair, skin, eyes--welcoming into community.
          "Don't promise you'll write to them--they'll actually think you mean it."

The problem with brevity is that it doesn't say enough--there is so much more not here: learning to order a hot dog like a local, naming the desperate stray dogs, teaching the difference between "schmooze" and "smooch," a lifetime of brothers and sisters, keeping granola bars for the street children, the longest hour of our lives, sharing stories and faith.

No list does it justice, but neither does memory.


  1. THANKS for your kind words!

    So many of the things on your list seem familiar, but at the same time different. I've experienced that feeling in Panama, later in Peru, a very short trip to Chile, and then on a mission trip to Mexico...there were similarities, yet each has a unique culture.

    1. Even within the same borders--I have a friend who went to Argentina a couple years after I did--some of our notes match up, others don't...