Sunday, September 27, 2009

Today is a Very Fine Day

I have been following a terrific blog, "No Telling", created by a writing project teacher named Monda who has a wicked sense of humor and a keen eye for irony. She makes me laugh, cry, and shake my head with her dead-on portrayals of life as a teacher and woman-of-a-certain-age. So I am happy and very gratified to be one of her Editor's Picks for the September Easystreet Carnival of Writing.

Writing is tricky business. Whenever I put pen to paper or, now fingers to keys, I lay open a bit of heart, soul, dreams and unintended warts. If then I share my writing, I take a big leap of faith and hope that somewhere, sometime what I have written will touch another person and create a spark of connection, interest, feeling, wonder...

It's like so much of life . We go about our days and have little sense of how we influence and touch other people. Every now and then, a student or parent from my past will send me a note to share a triumph or an update and I am so pleased to be once again reminded of my small part of this big world.

So, check out Easystreet Prompts at

Enjoy the writing and bits of heart + soul you find there. And, know that there's one writer in New Hampshire who is feeling really fine today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Somewhere above the Rio Madre de Dios

Southeast Peru. We're flying into Puerto Maldonado, a frontier city near the borders with Brazil and Bolivia. From there, we travel upriver by boat into the Tambopata National Reserve, a protected area that is part of the southern Amazon Basin. We have flown inland from Lima on the Pacific Coast, over the Andes Mountains to Cusco, and now south into the jungle.

From the air, I see vast stretches of green -- broken only by the winding rivers that feed the Amazon. There are animals and birds and even indigenous people who are rare, endangered, and specific to this region. But even as I revel in the strangeness and the beauty, I think about the changes coming from the east. A transoceanic highway is being built that will cross South America and link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The road will pass through Puerto Maldonado and open this area to trade, transport, malaria, people, and a more modern world.

Manifest destiny. I am completely cynical about the aims and outcome of this road, this progress. Who profits? Not the local people. Not the jaguar, nor the macaws nor the monkeys, nor the vast diversity of plants and animals of this region. Who stands up to the mining companies and the big oil and gas and lumber conglomerates? Who refuses the drug trade, the animal trade, the human trade?

Wanted: A new breed of human beings. A paradigm shift. A critical mass. A new definition and model of progress that improves more than it destroys. Needed immediately across the globe. Needed urgently in the tropical forests of South America. Matter of life and death.

Apply now.