Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saying Godobye

My mother and I went to see the first half of the Che Guevara movie today. It was far more hopeful than the second half, since it celebrated the success of the Cuban revolution, and follows Che from his early meeting with Castro until the triumphant march into Havana. I understand why Che was so adored and admired. He was charismatic and idealistic and decent and fair and good, or at least that is how he was portrayed. It appears that Fidel was quite happy to send him away to Bolivia; there was no room for two revolutionary leaders, and Fidel could not compete with Che's charisma. It makes sense that Fidel did not help Che in Bolivia; Castro probably was relieved that Che failed. I listened to Che's speech at the UN; he directed his verbal attacks at the United States, whom he described as imperialists. He references North American actions in Nicaragua and Panama and Cuba. I understand more clearly the perspective of Chavez, Castro, Morales, Correa; and it is significant that those views are being expressed right now in Trinidad, where the meeting of the Summit of the Americas is happening today. It is remarkable that the US embargo against Cuba may be lifted!

I continue to try and demonstrate to my parents the advantages of having a computer. I bring up Guevara's speech at the UN, his photos, those of Castro as a young man. But my efforts backfire when my mother becomes irritable and claims that the computer takes me away from the conversation and that she will never agree to having one in her house! So much for my efforts, I thought I was making progress; she was so much more amenable yesterday.

We walked again today, although not far. My parents suggested we visit a lake in St Albert, a town north of Edmonton, where my father and mother once encountered a moose and her calf. Apparently they turned a corner and saw the calf, and then the massive mother moose charged at my mother who was lucky to step out of the way and not get injured. Curious that they like to return to the scene of danger. There were no moose today at this 'Big Lake', and little wildlife at all. My father described there being hundreds of waterfowl each time they visit, but there were few birds today. A few Canada geese, and a muskrat swimming in the water ( a muskrat looks like a big rat but is smaller than a beaver, or so my father informed me). I have never paid this much attention to the wildlife around me. I believe it is my trips to the jungle and to the Galapagos that have taught me to observe and look more closely, or perhaps it is because I always have a camera with me and am looking for something to focus my lens on. My mother asked me why I photograph and what I do with the photographs and was not satisfied with my answer.

I came to Edmonton to check on my parents and to celebrate my mother's birthday. I have concerns about both my parents, and am not entirely sure I should leave them on their own. On the other hand, they live a full life, are active and involved with friends and their community. And there is little I can do to make their circumstances any better. They miss their family, but we will all visit when we can, and if something happens that necessitates another trip, from Baltimore or Quito or wherever I am, the world is such that I can be here in a day or two if need be. Saying goodbye feels very final everytime I leave.

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