Since I (mostly) work from the depto. (apartment), barring any editorial emergencies that require in-person care, or any short-term spiriting aways to work on translations from the comfort of someone else’s home, freezing cold and bleak days often find me in my casucha (small and poorly constructed house, and I’m being facetious) for most of the day. I might go to the gym, or take out the recycling, but I might just as easily stay bundled up and secreted away in my sixth-floor paradise, though two seventy-something women yesterday counseled me to get out there and party like a rockstar so to better meet my Romeo. But they also thought I was twenty, so what do they know? (truth, at seventy-something, much more than me!)
But sometimes, despite my best intentions to stay happily ensconced in the land of coffee then tea then herbal tea and then coffee again, I am sometimes called outside by things that just need to be photographed, and which I am powerless against.
Like for example, I accidentally went on this processional walk the other day, on the night of St. Peter and St. Paul. Hey, there was a giant religious statue (Jesus, I believe) on a litter (if he’s standing, is it still a litter?), and a powerful sound system praying right below my window. I couldn’t just let them slip away. So out I went, partially because I wanted to see and partially because I wanted to show you. And also because since I didn’t grow up in a particularly religious country, and the only real exposure to somewhat alien religious practices was saying “Gut Shabbos” to the passing rebbe (rabbi) on Saturday mornings where I grew up in Brooklyn. So this outpouring of emotion and belief and little lit candles held in paper shades that reminded me of Chinese-food boxes really struck me.
I also hoofed it back in the rain to find out for a woman who’d poked her head outside the door if they were giving communion. I was told by one of the sisters of the order to tell her, “not to worry,” meaning she didn’t have to come out and get wet (and wade through throngs of people) to receive it. Everyone blessed me, everywhere I went. Depite the giant raindrops, it all felt very cozy.
But that’s not the only thing I hear whispering “sáqueme una foto, aylincita.” (Take my picture, leeny!)
When there isn’t a loud and shuffly processional happening right outside your door, sometimes the light is fading over the mountains on one of those days I like to call “comp days.” or días compensatorías This is what we get for suffering through days of pittaPATTApittaPATTAPATTA rain the soaks the streets, the religious devotees, everyone, in what is surely filthy and probably acid rain. After that, the sun comes up one day and shows that the snow line has fallen, so we can no longer see where there isn’t any on the Andes, our splendid backdrop. In the words of a good friend (from back when we lived in Portland), “the mountains are out!”
And with any luck at all, the light is just right as the sun starts to drop in the sky and I run off to my sunset spot (which I share with a whole bunch of other people, some of whom where fumandose un pito (smoking a joint) when I was there yesterday, but I couldn’t be bothered to care, because look at what I saw to the east.
And then, just minutes later, to the west (the coastal range, notice that even that’s snow-topped).
With thanks to Nikon, my first ever non-auto focusing lens, everyone who ever challenged me to get over my fear of manual camera settings and my long-dead father, who would have come with me and shown me a thing or two.