Liquid Contentment

Valle Nevado


My redwood tree looks perky and content. The neighborhood robins are out breakfasting on an abundance of juicy worms. Hummingbirds squeal and careen in delight. Wet leaves cover the pavement. Even I feel light and energized after the refreshing rain yesterday. After years of drought, rain is reason for celebration. I also am grateful for the clear skies after days of smothering smog, and for the white ring of snow on the Andes surrounding the city.

Our current rainfall is three times greater than last year at this time, and winter doesn’t start for three more weeks. I wonder what the rain gods have in store for the next few months.

The rainfall in the usually wet southern Chile has diminished. The city of Coyhaique, set in a bowl of verdant hills, is rated as one of the most contaminated cities in the world. Besides the scarcity of rainfall, its problem lies in a longtime tradition in the damp, cold south – wood burning stoves. They are the heart of all southern homes, providing warmth, heat for baking bread and heating water and a gathering place for the family and friends. Because of the increasing pollution as the city grows, authorities are mandating a change to gas stoves. A loss for the inhabitants of the city, but wood stoves will continue to burn in countryside and small town kitchens.

Days later we are blessed with two more days of solid rain. This morning the sun makes an appearance in a true blue sky with patches of luminous puffy clouds. A great morning for a walk. Many others have the same idea. The sun draws us out of our dens: runners, some with dogs, cyclists, flocks of showy, squawking parrots, wild canaries and house wrens. The yellow leaves on the ground glow in the sunlight. The air is brisk and hopeful. And the mountains…they have revealed to us their gift of white splendor.


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