Tumbaco – Ecuador: Anthropocene; a BD; a departure; Drunk

July 1st

I’m drinking coffee outside while I write this.  There are a couple of cows across the river eating grass for breakfast under the sun. The sun hasn’t reached this place yet and it’s cold, so I had to wear a jacket.  This is not Casa Blanca, I am no longer by the beach but close to the mountains at my sister’s country house in Tumbaco, a small town near Quito.  Why would I do this to myself? I didn’t really have a choice.  Sofia had to fly back to DC yesterday night so we left CB in the morning and drove for six hours to get here, with just a bio/coffee stop,.  This morning I woke up to a text message from Sofia.  Her overnight flight to Atlanta was uneventful though she couldn’t sleep.  She was at the gate waiting to board the flight to Richmond VA where her mother will be waiting (I hope).  This is the first time she flies alone.  

Today is also my son’s birthday.  He is turning thirty-two, if I am not mistaken. We will celebrate with a BBQ.  And I will soon drive to Quito to get his present:  a silver bracelet designed by a local artist, Byron Sugniga. The family has bought several pieces from him over the years and we have become friends. He is opening his shop this morning for a private display of his new collections.    

The day before leaving Casa Blanca I went for a run at the beach; my usual run to Tonchiwe a fishermen’s town south of Same. Mid way there the beach is deserted; there are no humans but those of us in transit between the two towns.  You can still see hundreds of small red crabs running around. They were opening the way for me, not out of respect but for fear of being crashed.  You don’t see them anymore at the beach in Same.  It is not a crowded beach, but there are nonetheless many Homo Sapiens vacationing or running their businesses and the crabs didn’t like it. Their disappearance has taken place in just a few years. The Anthropocene is supposed to be the most recent geological period, when humans start to have significant impacts on ecosystems. The book Less is More that I just read refers to several recent studies showing that the number of species — starting with different species of insects — becoming extinct is reaching alarming proportions. Scientists refer to the 6th extinction. Maybe the small red crabs are next.  

The new book I am reading is Drunk by Edward Slingerland.  The book is about the benefits of alcohol for humanity and how it has helped build our civilization.  Will have more to say once I finish reading. For now, I’m glad somebody has finally written about the good things that alcohol brings to us, as opposed to the harmful bits — which seem to be an exaggeration…

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