Cartegena, Columbia is a spirit place even if I hate its heat, humidity, street vendors, and dirty streets.

There are spirits in that Old City behind huge locked doors, in notches cut into stone walls that held big guns aimed at pirate ships coming for treasure. Spirits sit on the steps of the Museo of the Inquisition where great battles for souls played out in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds.

Cuenca is also a spirit place. On any day, even if you take the same route you did yesterday, there are surprises.

There are troubled clouds that mass over the New Cathedral like demons trying to break down iron doors. There are muscled figures out of science fiction movies, chained to a balcony, who look down at you with a scowl. There is a mixture of old world and new world, and, turning any corner, you can not be sure what might spill in front of you, whether you are ready to catch it, or not.

Paper figures hang on a wire fence by the Rio Tomebamba and are so fragile they are twisted and torn by forces outside their control.

Some say we are paper too, holding tightly to our conventions, with all our strength, so we are not blown into the river and drowned. 

I know I should trust in forces bigger than me to help me when I can’t do things on my own.

I’m pretty sure all of us, at one time or another, are lonely boats on a big ocean with big waves, big winds, and big danger. 






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