It’s that time of year for the Annual Family Feast. Now that I’m back from a month in Brazil, I’ve been ensconced in my kitchen preparing a Southern vegetable known as Mac ‘n Cheese. Last night I spent two hours preparing pasta from scratch, relying on my Kitchen Aid to make it easier. As I pushed the dough through the machine, I felt its silky texture and it reminded me of the pink porpoise on the Amazon, whose belly I touched and got to feel the same smooth and silky texture, just like my pasta dough.
All we needed to do was slap a silvery fish on the surface of the water, and these river creatures came quickly to reap their reward. In exchange, as they leaped out of the water, I got to touch one of their undersides. Why did they leave salt water to swim in the fresh water? Why did they turn pink? After I returned home, I learned I had been ill informed and was calling these creatures porpoises when in fact they were dolphins: their long snouts one of the giveaways to their proper name!
As we traveled up the river almost one thousand miles, we met children from small villages who grabbed our hands as they had been trained to do, hoping for a gift of a dollar or two. Many were dressed in feathers and face paint. All for the tourists. They are being groomed as early as two to view us as targets for rewards. Their lives are so much simpler than ours. Subsistence living depending upon the ground to provide enough food along with occasional protein like fish. Selling handicrafts to the tourists.
Curing ailments with locally grown plants and herbs like ginger and turmeric. Do they know what’s going on in the world? Then I spied the satellite dish installed on their crude wooden houses. Perhaps they are more connected than I realized.
Travel opens your eyes. It leaves visual and physical memories embedded forever. Where I called all of these wonderful mammals porpoises, now I know they are dolphins. The more I see, the more I want to see and know. To make these connections in wonderment. To continue to learn how others live. And to come home appreciative of what my life is all about as I finish my pasta project, thinking about that pink dolphin.