Sunday, January 16, 2011
¿dónde está Portasól?
We continued at our slow pace over the rough road, crossed a narrow single-lane bridge with a small waterfall at right. Going further we were almost relieved to find ourselves at a guardhouse with gate. The sign said Portasól, but the gate was closed. We tried to explain ourselves to the guards in English and what little remained from my 9th grade Spanish class, and were finally led by ATV up to our temporary home overlooking the Pacific at a distance and the Costa Rican jungle close at hand on 4 sides. Carlos hit the switches on the lights, and we awakened to the contradictions and contrasts of 21st century Costa Rica.
I am not sure how to explain all this, but I know that by writing about it, some may become clear. So, instead of dwelling exclusively on the mess we have made of American education, culture and economy, I want to share more pleasant things over the next few days.
I wondered each day as we drove slowly down our road, about the lives of the people we passed. Surely there were stories there. And each day, as we traveled that very bumpy road, we took in what we could without making nuisances of ourselves. Are there some great Spanish writers who have explored the paces of village life? The photo above is what we had just missed by arriving late. We did not miss sunset again during our stay in Portasól.
If you want to visit the village of Portalón, its Google Earth coordinates are 9°21'15.37"N, 83°58'47.82"W
The photo at left shows the nearly completed jelly cabinet made of cherry and maple. A bit more sanding, drilling of the holes for shelf supports, and it will be ready to hang the doors and apply Danish oil.
It seems that violence involving guns is inescapable, but then that was the purpose for which they were made. On the day before the shooting in Arizona, there had been a school shooting in Omaha, Nebraska, in which a troubled young man shot and wounded the principal, shot and killed the vice-principal, and then took his own life. The gun lobby will insist that there were other factors at play. In this case, the father is a police officer, and the weapon used was his service revolver.
The dark fantasies that surround firearms lead to their use in that which they were created for. Children with tools have other things to live for and work towards. I learned about the school shooting in a conversation with my sister who teaches in Lincoln, Nebraska public schools. She also told me about one of her students who had taken a class in decorating cakes. A new sense of self esteem and creative purpose literally changed every aspect of his life. Can we not see that regardless of how one feels about guns and gun legislation and availability, the lack of creative tools in the hands of children is the far greater problem?