Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its fifth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

March 10, 2017

NICARAGUA - EPILOG

... it's been four or five months since jon asked, "would you like to go to nicaragua with me to build a house" ... in a few hours it'll be two weeks since roger dropped me off at the portland jetport, and, although five days now, it seems just yesterday my sweet liz's smile welcomed me home ... now, comfortable in my apartment (five times the size of the house we built) and already snuggling up for tomorrow's 0°f temperatures (for my new friends in nicaragua, read that as -17°c), it's time for me to reflect upon what already i feel was of my life's greatest experiences ...

... first of all, although it looks like all i did was take pictures, yes, indeed, i did work ... favoring my healing shoulder,  when the others were applying their healthy muscles to heavy lifting and back-wrenching pounding i found other tasks needed to be done ... i got quite good at forming re-bar c's, to the point that when marcos worked next to me i was no slower nor less efficient than he, and his approving "thumbs up" will in my memory forever be a badge of honor ...

... i helped tie rebar ladders, too ... kevin excellently tutored me in this task, which was nowhere near as simple as it appears ...

... keri kept giving smile lessons ...

... so odd, me, who has never been all that good at being a "part of the gang," yet in this group i instantly found myself perfectly comfortable and completely accepted ... as a part of a "crew" i think the last time i felt like this was when i was in the military ... this, as much as anything else, says a great deal about my experience in nicaragua ...

... the first day, learning about the organizational foundation supporting our efforts ... several people in our group took these pictures, but right now i'm not of the mind to try to dig back into my emails to offer up specific credit so instead i'll thank kevin, austin, sarah, kara, keri, jon, and diane for the evidence that i was there ... !!! ...

... my favorite picture from the trip because it shows the house we built, and that i was so very fortunate to share the experience with my nephew, jon, who made it all possible ...

... the second day, a little tourism stop as we were heading up into the mountains ... already i was having to force myself to focus my eyes towards the specific task of recording the activity for which i had come to nicaragua ... still, [big sigh], i might have to take my camera back for some plain ol' wanderabouting ...

... i know that when i am a very old man i will look at this picture and even then it will still cause me to feel really good ... 

... there're other images of me sent by members of our group, but—well, what can i say, since i'm the editor of this little journal you don't get to see pictures of me unless in at least some small way they bring you to say to yourself, "oh, my, i just never noticed how much george clooney looks like patrick" ...

... some thoughts:

... if you've followed my journal, and, even if ever so faint, a certain questioning thought has crossed your mind, you should bring to full consciousness the idea, "accepting that it's okay to be nervous, i think i'd like to do something like this" ...

... then, if you like, ask me questions ... email or use the little comment box at the right side of the journal page ...

... next, drop my nephew, jon, an email ...


... he'll give you all the details ... he will not try to "sell" you on the idea because an important part of it is that you do that for yourself ...

... i will tell you that i was unbelievably impressed with the depth and degree to which this trip was organized and managed ... i never felt anything less than perfectly safe and completely cared for ... even more, from the first moment on the job site i felt an important part of something very important ... i doubt if any of you reading this couldn't benefit from that feeling ...

... allowing that it may sound a bit trite, still i will say that for the rest of my life i will treasure this experience ...

°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°

PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE TRIP MAY BE FOUND AT

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1cvcgXf_CDvblY4aW1ESUFDMXM

THE IMAGES I TOOK ARE COPYRIGHTED AND LABELED AS SUCH

I'VE GIVEN THRIVENT FINANCIAL AND HABITAT FOR HUMANITY FULL RIGHTS TO USE THESE IMAGES

EVERYONE ELSE, FOR PERSONAL OR NON-COMMERCIAL USE WITH RESPECTFUL ATTRIBUTION PLEASE SHARE TO YOUR HEART'S CONTENT

FOR ANY OTHER USE PLEASE CONTACT ME

THESE IMAGES ARE SIZE/QUALITY REDUCED, BUT WILL PRINT NICELY UP TO 6"X8"

FOR FULL-QUALITY VERSIONS CONTACT ME