The Rio Dulce School for Awkward and Inelegant Egrets

Cattle egret community
When you think of birds, you usually think of grace, no? The curve of a wing in flight, feathers fanning out, the swoop of a long white neck, the weightlessness of gliding on air. You think of sprites and nimble spirits. Hummingbirds and swans.
Cattle egret community
Cattle egret community
Kris rowed me out to a group of trees standing in the river, this morning, to photograph a rookery of cattle egrets. I snapped what I could with my camera set on continuous exposure, hoping that maybe one or two of the hundreds of exposures I made would give me a good photo of the birds, which were in constant motion.
Cattle egret community
Looking over them after lunch, I certainly did get some clear, interesting pictures of this bird community…not the sort I expected, though. I caught many birds in incredibly awkward, ungainly, and…well…freakish postures. Most un-birdlike! This was no Swan Lake photo shoot…they look more like monsters from the old Muppet Show. Or…a rooster?
Cattle egret community

This one. The unstable artist and substance abuser of the community, I’ll bet…
Cattle egret community
Cropping and choosing photos to upload to my Flickr account, I laugh out loud more than once. Kris looks up from his newspaper.
“What are you doing?”
“Editing photos of a bunch of chickens on meth,” I tell him.
“A bunch of what, on what?!”
Cattle egret community
Cattle egret community
Cattle egret community
Finally, there was a photo where these gangling, long-legged dance-hall freaks in yellow tights and orange mohawks managed to get their act together, and give me one reasonably bird-like photo that embodied, if not exactly grace reminiscent of Clair de Lune, then at least the idea of three birds having finally agreed on facing one direction. Better than nothing, theater people, carry on!
Cattle egret community

P.S. Posted from an internet café, using stuff written and edited on Kris’ laptop, and moved via flash drive.🙂

Waterdrop music

I’m scheduling a few posts while I still have an internet connection, because I can’t resist…

“The Wintergartan Marble Machine, built by Swedish musician Martin Molin and filmed by Hannes Knutsson, is a hand-made music box that powers a kick drum, bass, vibraphone and other instruments using a hand crank and 2,000 marbles.” —Wired Magazine article

Get the audio track “Marble Machine” by Wintergatan:…

Marble Machine built and composed by Martin Molin
Video filmed and edited by Hannes Knutsson

dead MacBook (again)

Santiago de Atitlan huipil
For real this time. Sat up all day and all night with a dying Macbook, like tending a sick child. Tried every trick I knew to make it go again…flipped it over, opened it up, cleaned the points with alcohol, disconnected the battery, swapped the RAM cards around. Did an SMTP reset, a PRAM reset. Over and over and over. But it will not charge, and even on AC power it often will not start. Sometimes it starts and then, overwhelmed, dies again. Each time the clock is reset to Dec. 31, 2000. I do believe the battery has breathed its last. So that’s it for my laptop, at least until I am in a position to replace the battery. Really I want a new laptop, but that’s not happening till middle of next year, if I am a good girl and go back to work and save my minimum wages!)

No matter. I am calm. I accepted, earlier today, that it was going to die. I have backed it up, have downloaded some music onto my iPod, have de-authorised my iTunes account for this machine, have moved my plane and flight tickets to a USB thumb drive for printing, and I have, well, said goodbye. And I’m saying goodbye, for just a few months, to all of you, too.
hand embroidery in yarn on handwoven fabric
Funny, I don’t feel anything but a mild annoyance, anymore. A small part of me is relieved. I spend far too much time on the internet, and that has always irritated me. I often sit down telling myself “I’ll just check my e-mails”, and then look up 3-5 hours later, eyes watery and brain full of rubbish, and the best part of the day or night wasted on, I don’t know, cat GIFs on facebook, or photos of what my friends are eating.
Worry Dolls
It’s like being drunk…it’s not really that fun, but you can’t stop once you get started. I always know I am drunk on the internet when my Facebook page fills up with a motley collection of meaningless, stupid shared posts…ha-ha political memes, people’s stupid home videos of something their kid/dog/talking parrot/hamster did, and environmental slacktivism memes that everyone clicks the sad face on, before moving on to the video of the elephant that did that thing with its trunk in the next post.
hand-woven cotton shawls
Clearly not time well-spent. I threw the television out of my life 20 years ago, only to let the internet replace it. A useful tool, I agree, if you can stick to the plan, but also one of the world’s biggest time wasters, if you don’t.
hand embroidery in yarn on handwoven fabric
I am looking forward to going back into the real world for the rest of my stay in Guatemala. I will try to get a post up once in a while, if I find a decent internet cafe nearby, but I can’t promise anything. And what, you may be wondering, about that cheap tablet I bought in Venezuela as a solution for the last time this happened? That died even earlier. The battery is 94% full when it dies. It was a waste of money and I was a fool to buy it, all so I could keep this virtual thread alive.
handwoven cloth
I suppose I could try and stretch it on and on…if I open the guts of the laptop a few times, do the disconnect/connect thing over and over again, reset with fancy key combinations, I can get the thing to run on its AC power cord. But every time I turn the computer off, there’s a 50/50 chance that I won’t get it up and running again. It seems more stressful, at this point, to try and keep the internet in my life, than to let it go!
hand embroidery in yarn on handwoven fabric
And who knows what cool things I’ll make in the time that remains me, in Guatemala? When the mind is finally weaned of its internet fix and cleared of the fog, I might sit myself down, every afternoon, and spend those normally blighted three to five hours of Facebook and Twitter and other peoples Instagram accounts, on producing something beautiful! And wouldn’t that be so much better than seeing the video of the little girls dancing that got swallowed up by their own rubber floor mat when the wind lifted it up that I recently shared on my Facebook page, just because it made me guffaw once? Like the television, social networks have a dumbing effect on the brain. I find myself becoming shallow and lazy-brained and insubstantial.
ceramic worry doll pendants
I have my tickets, so the end of this 18-month voyage is in sight, at last. If all goes well, I am set to arrive in Darwin, Australia on the 15th of October. That’s really not so very far away, now! It has been an amazing trip… Thank you for following me almost all the way to the end of it! If anything major-major happens I will blog from an internet café, but otherwise I am taking a break. Go with the flow. Work with what you have. The way out of the problem is through the problem…

Promising lots of goodies when I get back home to Sonofagun!

  • Skillshare courses, first of all (I was personally invited—I’d never have thought I had something worth teaching, otherwise—though anyone that wants to can create a course on Skillshare)
  • Fresh art for my poor ol’ Society6 shop. (By the way, to whoever did her Christmas shopping early and bought all that stuff from me…THANK YOU!)
  • My ETSY shop will re-open, full of things inspired by my travels.
  • Plans for an exhibition, when I finally have the space to paint freely again.
  • I’ll be back at some of Darwin town’s bigger craft markets, too…
  • AND I made up my mind, this year (thanks to your comments, reactions and encouragement) to finally get cracking on my writing…when I was younger I thought I would be writer, and then literary criticism (as well as the realisation of just how truly painful and difficult a line of work it is, if you want to be honest and keep high standards) scared it out of me. I never quite let it go, though, and it has been on the backburner all this time. I think I may even have something to say, at last.

So long, for now…three months will pass like nothing, you’ll see. I do hope you’ll keep me at the bottom of your Inbox until I get back…it would be very sad to pop back up and find nobody, nobody here at all.😦
just arrived in Chichicastenango
*The photos are of some of the things I bought during our two weeks of backpacking in the Guatemalan highlands, and me on some steps in Chichicastenango, fresh off the chicken bus…