"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Friday, July 20, 2012

Belize - What the Cameras Didn't Catch

By the time we got home from our trip we had taken over 1700 pictures between the two of us. That's about 100 pictures a day. After a couple of weeks of work, I've got the number down to 1100, ready to be shown to anyone lucky enough to ask to see pictures of our trip to Belize. Even so, there were a number of photos that didn't get taken. Here's what we missed:

Close-ups of vivid avian colors in the wild. The scarlet macaws are endangered and hard to find. Green parrots wouldn't sit still long enough. And you already know the toucan story.

The woman washing her clothes, in her yard, on a stone slab, just yards away from where we turned into a new and luxurious resort where we went zip lining.

The river we drove by a number of times where there were six large flat stones set up for washing clothes, always in full use. A short distance up the river from the women doing laundry, we saw men bathing. One time we drove by to find a car immersed in the river being washed with great enthusiasm by a handful of young men.

The table set up by the side of the road, just outside a prison, where men in orange suits were selling products (including some nice looking furniture) I'm guessing they made in the prison. We didn't stop, but I sort of wish we had.

A young girl crossing the road in front of us with a cereal bowl balanced on her head. Our guide laughed and said she was practicing for adulthood.

Just a couple of days later we saw a woman walking in the middle of the main road in Hopkins, bare feet dusty red, a scowl scorching the air around her, hands swinging, plantains draped on her head— like Medusa with fat yellow snakes.

The two boys, about three and five, standing in the street after dark on a Saturday night in Hopkins, asking, "You got dollah?" as we walked by. We didn't have dollah, but I couldn't quite get comfortable with how they'd learned to ask that in the first place.

A man trudging up the highway carrying a load of wood, nearly as big as he was, on his back, supported by a head strap, just as the Mayas carried anything heavy hundreds of years ago. With all of their brilliance, the Maya did not have the wheel.

Incredible thunder storms, lightning lighting up the sky with a force and fury I've never experienced here. At the same time, lightning bugs flitting and blinking in the night air, all to the music of pulsing cicadas and chuckling frogs in the background.

The bright yellow police station in Hattieville where we were caught in a traffic check. Cars were being stopped going both ways through town and policemen were checking papers. We were asked to produce proof of insurance by a man who looked like Idi Amin, who did not smile the whole time he studied our papers, who studied our papers like he was memorizing them, and who only handed them back when another policeman came along side and told him it was okay. That one did smile and wish us a good day. I wanted more than anything to take pictures during the whole thing, but figured it might not have been a good idea.

The sounds. I tried to record the howler monkeys and parrots and motmots, but it didn't work. And no recording could have captured the magic of lying in bed on a morning surrounded by the wild wonder of that chorus.

The experience of picking a Valencia orange from a tree and eating it right there, barely able to contain the juice as it exploded from the membranes.

Walt and I standing under a mango tree, waiting out the rain, at Lubaantun, our last and favorite Maya ruins, kissing like we were new.

We've been home for two weeks now. In many ways, because of these reflections and all the work with the pictures, a big part of me has still been in Belize. I dream about it. I miss some of the people we met. Every day I remember and re-feel and re-see. I have one more story to tell, one last bit of reflecting, before I'm ready to return fully to the Pacific Northwest, a place I've come to love even more as I've explored Belize. I'm so glad you've all been here to share with me.


kario said...


Dee said...

Dear Deb, a posting that reveals what an observer of sight and sound and touch you are.

By the way, what is "zip lining"????


yaya said...

I want a piece of that orange..your description made me almost taste it! Great post and wonderful memories that have embedded themselves into your soul.

DJan said...

I too have experienced Belize with you, and I adore the way you write. I have been there, felt the incredible beauty, and seen the things you failed to capture on film or video. It's a beautiful place, much like our shared Pacific Northwest. Thank you for taking the time to write, photograph, share...

Stacy said...

I understand what you mean by still being there. In February when we are in the blahs and fury of school, you'll have to remember that orange!

Anonymous said...

I am so enjoying your adventures here Deb. The noise of those howler monkeys carry for miles! My mother lived very near the zoo when pregnant with me. In my early years, those particular monkeys, combined with the roar of the lions kept her, Dad and myself awake at night - even now Mum and I have recurring dreams of escaping lions!!
Your trip sounds so interesting.

Mark Lyons said...

A true artist with words. You paint word pictures like Di Vinci crafted his masterpieces. Thank you for taking us along on your adventure.

Love you

Linda Myers said...

How wonderful that you're still in Belize!

Cheryl said...

Ah I've missed your writing and who needs a photo with your words - just beautiful! Life has been hectic but I have promised myself more time in blog land. Glad to be back in touch.

Survival Food said...

Sometimes I really marvel the amazing gifts nature has bestowed upon us! The photograph of the macaw was truly fantastic!

Amber said...

You are such a writer!!