Saturday, October 6, 2012


It's hot and dusty again, just 5 days after heavy rain and thunderstorms. The weather has been exhibiting a degree of schizophrenia (you ever try to spell that word? I was stumped after the first letter. and yes I know it's not really appropriate to throw around neurological terms that I don't understand) in the last month, which I guess is a good thing. Beats monotony.
Let's see... its hot and dusty now, but this week we enjoyed clear, clean air and workable soil after an intense two days of thunderstorms last Monday and Tuesday. I was delayed coming back from Asuncion as a result of these storms. A couple parts of the country were hit really hard, with homes destroyed by the wind and hail.
The 36 hours before that storm was oppressively hot, but the five days or so before that was very pleasant, gradually warming after a week of bizarrely cold temperatures, which dipped down to about 50 degrees a couple of nights (remember: 50's outside - no problem, 50's inside - very uncomfortable). This cold spell came in after another round of thunderstorms accompanied by tornadoes (I think) which destroyed several blocks in a suburb of the capital and a few other areas around the country.

But at least we're getting rain. I was talking to a building contractor yesterday, he said it wouldn't be hard or expensive to fix the broken tiles in my roof to reduce the leaks. This will have to wait at least a month however, as I've already spent any discretionary funds for October on my lovely new window. My house is dark and cave-like, and the window, well, you know how cool windows are... light and air, not to mention that aesthetic quality of hominess they give a room.
It is a big improvement.

What is the point?
The point is that I love to ride my bike. I love to ride it out in the countryside in the evening, between rainstorms and dry spells, when the roads are not a horrible mud slurry or suffocatingly dusty. I love exploring and trying to link up a unknown country road to a known one, or to the "highway". I love finding little three-room campo schools and, at least, thinking about how I ought to visit. I really ought to. For next fall, at the very least.
I love the beauty of the countryside, which I have written about before. This was once all Atlantic rainforest, which stretched from here north-east to Rio de Janiero, roughly. What is left of it is in the awkward glens around streams. The wheat fields curve around these green outcrops with a geometric perfection. You can see the elegance of the forms of the land contraposed against the wildness of the forest. Perfect, endless wheat stubble and mad explosions of jungle.

Like I've said, I'd love to have a Bed & Breakfast out here. I think I could lure folks with money to a week of the simple life... charge rich Manhattanites loads of money to milk a cow, things like that. Just being a few miles out of town really does give one the relaxing and slightly dizzying feeling of having left the 21st century behind, even without leaving cell phone reception.
I think bicycle tourism could be a thing here, but there are a lot of impediments. First of all, how many bicycle tourists are even out there? Enough for Oregon, but...
Second, the country dirt roads can be good for biking, but the country roads that really go somewhere are often cobblestoned, which is impossible to bike on.
Asphalt roads are narrow and all vehicles are driven at the maximum possible speed. Might makes right is the rule of the road.

I would love to be able to go out riding with a friend! If anyone has been on the fence about visiting, te suplico, adelante! I very much hope that my brother will be able to come out just before I leave next April when he (.....finally...) finishes at WWU.
At a certain point my capacity to appreciate beauty is maxed out trying to take it in by myself. I take pictures but... I ought to be painting landscapes. I don't have paints. Should I buy some? I imagine they would not be cheap.
If you witness a beautiful thing and there is nobody there to share it with, was it really beautiful? I am truly energized when I make myself leave my ugly home and get out into the countryside. Still, I think I may avoid going out more because every time I do I am awed by the glory but saddened by my inability to share it, to make something more of it. I can't take it with me.

So it goes.

But I like to bike!

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