Saturday, March 29, 2014

Deviation and Cultivation / Desviación y cultivo

Note: the best way to view this is to scroll down while reading, and afterwards click on the photos to get a larger view)

The news is my entertainment here. Following a particular crisis is like watching a movie; it recedes from memory from one day to the next — plotlines are forgotten, people have character with no beginning or end. 

There is a major crisis going on in the world at any given moment affecting dozens or thousands of people. News photos take on the look of noir or new wave. The bloody battles in Kiev become paintings from the Renaissance, bathed in warm lights of fire fading into blackness. How could something this deadly be so beautiful? 

I watch with extreme interest — it's like a new TV series — then forget about it, gone from consciousness. People die, buildings collapse, refugees starve, all in a movie.

Nature is solace here. But even that is politically fraught. As an urban dweller hip to the new DIY farming and back to nature movement, I view rural landscape with awe. Then I find out that even that has its problems. In Guatemala, “it is speculated that among the reasons for the Classic Mayan collapse is widespread drought caused by the overwhelming deforestation of the tropical lowlands the Mayans inhabited."(

The forests have been turned into coffee, sugarcane and banana plantations. The highlands, where I am located, have been cultivated since pre-conquest times, with step or "terrace" planting widespread. There are, however, "jungles" in remote areas of Guatemala.

Forests near the border of Guatemala and Mexico have recently been appropriated to serve the drug trade, with huge swaths being cleared for backstairs landing strips servicing planes from South America. The narcos infiltrate what they can, and an absence of law enforcement and the need to make extra cash among the locals doesn’t bode well for an ecological safety net.

How can we compare that with the United States? The continued government sanctioning of fracking, oil drilling, clearcut mining et al., is no better. 


  1. enjoyed this, Julie..... you sure are getting an eye-full of beauty. meanwhile how's your spanish?

    1. Spanish is not so good, but I'm trying! Thanks for your interest Rosaire! xx

  2. These photos accent your words so beautifully, Julie. Thinking of you with much love, Fredericka

  3. Julie- the photos are bookworthy- so tactile and rich. Keep it up. Interesting commentary too.

  4. Beautiful, thank you