Wednesday, March 12, 2014

High in the Andes

 We are pleased to offer this post from my friend, Mary Averett.  She is married to writer Ed Averett whose latest book, Cameron and the Girls has achieved critical acclaim. Mary and Ed are carving out a new life for themselves in Ecuador.  Her updates about their adventures are so bright and vivid that I eagerly await the next installment.

                                                      Velvet Purple Coronet

I’m compelled to write, right now, due to the wildly changeable weather. It was, and has been a beautiful week of non-stop sunny weather with rather warm temperatures, most likely mainly in the 70-72 range. The sun here is always intense, but one rarely feels too warm, as here, 8,000 feet up in the Andes, there is always a breeze. It’s kind of an enigma to feel the intensity of the sun when it isn’t really that warm, but one does, even when the temperature is in the 60’s sometimes.

Ed and I have been working a lot outside and making great progress. We like going out early in the morning and working until around noon. Many climbing vines are planted and growing, and my herb garden plantings have taken off with parsley, basil and dill that will all be in abundance rather soon, as they are growing now, visibly, each day. Somehow the mint died, so my plan is to replant mint and rosemary later this week, or next. In the last week, we have cleared many places of 50 years of detritus (little pieces of roof tile, bricks, concrete somethings that are now in pieces, old parts of looms as this was a weaving center and lots of small pieces of plastic sacks that have, in some way, deteriorated but not gone away). By now, we have planted several different flowering plants via both seed and by the plant. We found a wonderful nursery in Ibarra and bought quite a few things there, including a jacaranda tree, which we had in Spain, loved and have always wanted again. Lavender is in a row along one side of the grass yard we have that is kind of the entryway to the house. It has what most of us would consider a tree of fuchsia. Our northwestern weather would never allow one of these spectacular plants to develop as this one has. It is often host to several beautiful emerald colored hummingbirds, called picaflor here and there is a perfect view of it and them outside our kitchen window. Now and then there is a yellow and black one, but most of them, and they are many, are emerald green – bright – and black, and they love our fuchsia tree.

Anyway, compelling tonight is an almost immediate and drastic change. First, out in the distance, I heard some thunder. Within a minute or two it was near. Then, within five minutes it was raining….hard. Now, five minutes later, or maybe seven, it has stopped, the sky has cleared and I know tomorrow will be a sunny, and wonderful day. Meanwhile, the seeds I planted yesterday and watered lightly thereafter, are now well watered and most likely bursting with the idea of sprouting.

When I was a young girl, my brother and I went to visit our Uncle Dick and Aunt Pat at Kelly Creek Ranger Station in Idaho. I’m not sure how high it was, but it was in the mountains, rather high, and I do recall rain behavior that was somewhat similar, but it must be the elevation and the equator that makes it so dramatic here.

A few minutes ago I could hardly hear anything but the rain falling on the tile roof. Now, the dogs next door seem to be celebrating the cessation of the rain, as they are all barking, and again I can hear cars go by up on the road.

As I see on Facebook today, snow is on the ground in Spokane. Here, we have just experienced a tropical mountain rainstorm. It seems strange to be so far away and, still, to feel so close to my loved ones.


Carey said...

The photo of the velvet purple coronet stopped me in my tracks with it's beauty. Mary's description of the vegetation inspires me to start digging! Thank you Liz

Elizabeth S. Brinton said...

Yes, Mary inspired me to get out and start scraping away the debris of winter too. Thanks for the comment.