Sunrise or Sunset

Elias Smolcic-Larson - Ecuador


July 16, 2015

With some good old soul sung by Mary J Blidge in the background, my calico cat by my side with a late spring thunderstorm that is thinking of developing outside, life back in small town USA is treating me well. With work in landscaping/agriculture/a new invention which I cannot tell much more to the public about quite yet and occasionally biking/kayaking/hanging with friends both young and old I am now missing my life in Ecuador, with the occasional regional training seminars, the weekly communications with team leader Stephanie, the work under the strong Andean sun on the farm in Chunazana, followed by the chilly and breezy nights and cool still mornings, those terrifying (always) early morning bus rides with magical sunrises over the mountains that would certainly be enjoyable if I was not a weak hearted gringo (slang for north American).

I had the bad habit of creating a heart threatening (or at least damaging) mistake of looking over the edge of the one way (not enough space for a cat to pass) road to see there is no guard rail and a several hundred meter drop into a beautiful mountain ravine complete with smoothed out river rocks and an icy mountain stream (the leaps of the heart was enough to have an atheist such as myself blessing my soul and asking for forgiveness from the powers that be), are all in the past. With the constant adventure, the newness of it all, my first big trip away from home, I feel as though I am a stranger back in a land where everything is so familiar, yet I have changed so much since leaving it less than a year ago.

I think of the past weeks since my arrival back home as a bit of an awakening, (I often struggled with the GRAS (generally regarded as simple)) task of getting myself out of bed in the mornings in Nabon, due in part to its pristine nighttime climate well geared towards my nighttime sleeping temperature preference (NSTP) in the 40s and 50s between the hours of 7 PM when the stars would be out on any given night and 730 AM when the sun rising over the eastern oriented cliffs would project itself almost straight into my face despite my best attempts at covering it. Due to being at the middle of the earth, Ecuador and many other countries around that general region of the earth do not receive the changing hours of sun set and sun rise throughout the year that becomes a decisive force for many North Americas on integral parts of life such dinner, road trips, homework completion etc).

Since my return to the green rolling hills of central PA the weather (along with the length of the days) has been changing quite a bit in recent weeks leaving me wondering if I am going to be waking up to a red tropical sunset after a sweet afternoon nap on the coast of Ecuador (the days I hope to be assigned to filling out paperwork at the office), with other mornings starting off so cool with a daily high of 65 (the days I hope to be assigned mulching duty at the mall) I occasionally found myself wondering if this is my new way of life, if every day will start this way from now until the day I croak, when will my time in rural Nabon county end, or would I always wake up with that strong, bright Andean sun of the variety that makes one feel as though a hole is being burned through the skin by 8 am (the approximate start of the work day after a high carbs and sodium breakfast).

There was a certain feeling that came with time when I awoke to that sight. It was one of awe, one of wondering where and what I would be doing that day, who what when where and how I would get to the following sunset, a sunrise I hope to awaken to every day, a feeling I hope to continue every day as I enter a new part of my life: college. Although there are the times when I certainly do not miss my life in Ecuador, every now and again I close my eyes and am not really sure where I might open them again.

Elias Smolcic-Larson