Sense of direction

He always knew the where and the when of any place he found himself in

La Plazoleta Loja, Loja, Ecuador
The Plaza         Loja, Loja, Ecuador

That was how, among other things, he learned to measure time.

La Ventana Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador
A Window           Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador

He could determine it accurately and with unbelievable precision, just by observing the wealth of tiny details surrounding him.

Flor urbana Loja, Loja, Ecuador
Urban flower          Loja, Loja, Ecuador

These talked to him about the time of the day at any given moment. Coupled with that natural sense of orientation he was born with, he could always tell the exact where and when of any place he found himself in, at any given moment, never feeling lost in the world.

Río Malacatos Loja, Loja, Ecuador
Malacatos River          Loja, Loja, Ecuador


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Life’s lessons

The best lessons of his life, were outside of the classroom

El Artesano Loja, Loja, Ecuador
El Artesano Store           Loja, Loja, Ecuador

So, as it happened, his father spared no effort in transmitting his vast experience to his young son.

El balcón Loja, Loja, Ecuador
The balcony           Loja, Loja, Ecuador

He didn’t limit his teaching to matters concerning the farm, but went further still, trying to explain the world that surrounded them, communicating a wealth of knowledge he had accumulated throughout so many years.

La boutique Loja, Loja, Ecuador
The boutique           Loja, Loja, Ecuador

Magnifico displayed a frank and open curiosity about every little detail they discussed. The child seemed to assimilate it all instantly and with an extraordinary ease.

La zapatería Loja, Loja, Ecuador
La shoe shop          Loja, Loja, Ecuador


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Plans and dreams

Without dreams, flight becomes an impossibility

Calle General Torres Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
General Torres Street           Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

Nothing could be further from the truth and especially from his dreams and the grand plans towards the future, carefully stored in the hopes and the mind of the child… For him, life was perfect and clearly defined. 

Cúpula de la Catedral Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
The Cathedral          Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

For him, life was perfect and clearly defined. In a very simple and straightforward way, he conceived his mission in life as the task of learning all there was to learn about the farm. He would gradually transform it, until finally converting it into an important dairy industry.

La Calle Simón Bolivar Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
 Simón Bolivar Street          Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador

With Camila by his side and together with his parents, they would keep on growing, to finally become one of largest and most important farms in the state of Tolima.

Esperando la lluvia Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
Waiting for the rains           Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador


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Abandoned nests

Though the nest may be so comfortable, it is hopelessly left behind, in the moment when wings reach out for flight…

Confluencia Tena, Napo, Ecuador
Confluence         Tena, Napo, Ecuador

Camila was the first to break the silence. Her voice reflected a meditative state of mind.

“You know something?”

Atardecer en el río Tena, Napo, Ecuador
Sunset in the river           Tena, Napo, Ecuador

“Excuse me?” was Magnifico’s reply. He was also lost in his own thoughts.

Vista de Tena Tena, Napo, Ecuador
City view          Tena, Napo, Ecuador

“It seems it was easier than I thought. But, I must admit that I feel sorry for your folks. The way I see it, your mom is terribly worried. And I’ll tell you another thing, she’s scared because she feels we won’t be kids for much longer and she won’t be needed soon. She frightened thinking that the day will come when you leave her to go with me. Actually, she believes she’s is going to lose you…”

Volcán Sangay al atardecer Macas, Morona-Santiago, Ecuador
Sangay volcano at dusk         Macas, Morona-Santiago, Ecuador


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Live and let live

He lived his own life as he saw it, and let the world live their own as they saw fit

El Mariachi taco Factory Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
The Mariachi Taco Factory          Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

Later, that morning… a long time later, while they enjoyed the calm feeling of each other, as they lay together in bed at that unusual noon hour, Father readdressed his wife’s earlier concerns.

Calles de La Mariscal Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

Mariscal’s streets         Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

“Do? Well, there’s not that much we can do, my dear. Help them in what they propose to do. Leave them alone and simply tell them: do it, everything’s all right and take it easy! Because, at the end of it all, they’ll do exactly what they plan to do, and they’ll live like they want to live. Worst case, they only thing that can’t be fixed is death, and up to now, nobody’s asked us what we think ‘bout that…”

La Avenida Río Amazonas Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
 Río Amazonas Avenue           Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

“Oh, dear! I know you’re right, but still, it hurts to see them slipping away from us.”

“Well, that’s the way it goes, meanwhile the sheep are probably hungry, and there’s work to do. Tonight, we can continue this conversation later… tonight.” he replied, lazily getting out of bed with a huge grin on his face.

Vista de la ciudad Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
View of the city           Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador


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Morning celebration

And, how many times he decided that the best thing to do do… was to not do anything at all

El maple La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador
The Maple         La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador

“So, what are we going to do?” the young mother asked, placing her head on the also young farmer’s strong shoulder, whom she had loved so much, since way back, as far as she could remember.

“That’s up to me, it’s my turn to take care of this!”

Fachadas y coloridos La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador
Facades and colours           La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador

Having said that, he took her by the hand and led her slowly back to the house, while they quietly enjoyed the early morning hours. Once inside, they settled down next to the kitchen, in the room the wood-stove kept so nicely warm. He took out a bottle of spirits and opened it, wearing a hint of a mischievous smile on his face.

El Parque La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador
The park           La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador

“Whatever are you thinking of? Can’t you see how early in the morning it is?” she exclaimed, while laughing happily.

“Go for it, my dear! The one good thing about all this mess is that we are all alone in the house”, he replied, as he poured her a shot.

And what happened after during that morning, was something that hadn’t happened in quite a long while…

La calle de los Maples La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador
The Maple tree’s street         La Mariscal, Quito, Ecuador


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Father… a wild card

On occasions, he had to manipulate the people and things around him, but always with elegance and respect.

Plaza Bolivar Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador
Plaza Bolivar           Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador

“And you defended yourself like a real trooper. Cool and relaxed, but absolutely firm, if I don’t remember wrong…”

At that moment, in the quiet of the early morning, the silence in the shed was broken, as she exploded in loud, merry laughter.


Views Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador
Views           Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador

“Well, aren’t you a card, a mean, wild one at that, my dear sir! Just look at how you’ve been playing me along, riding me, like if I were one of your stubborn mules”, she replied laughing still.

Fachadas Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador
Facades          Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador

“I’ve told you, once and again, that you could never get stuck in any gully, place or anywhere, not for anything in the world!” He added, visibly more at ease, while he tenderly hugged his wife.

The streets           Otavalo, Imbabura, Ecuador


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A prefab life

In his life, he always preferred to make his own way, as to following the paths he encountered on the way

Atardecer en el pueblo Mindo, Pichincha, Ecuador
Dusk in the town           Mindo, Pichincha, Ecuador

“But, that story already went through, at least, a full turn. Could be there’s more to it, but as far as I know, it goes back to your Mom’s plans for us, may her soul rest in peace.”

After a brief pause, he kept on going:

Los carritos Mindo, Pichincha, Ecuador
The carts           Mindo, Pichincha, Ecuador

“Everything nicely arranged. I would work with your Dad in the shop, and we would live in their house in Santa Isabel, right next to my work.”

After studying her reaction, he followed through:

La fuente Mindo, Pichincha, Ecuador
The fountain           MindoPichincha, Ecuador

“Everything was good, your mom was a sweetheart, but… we had our own plans, and we wanted to set up a farm to live in, with just a few animals to call our own. Most importantly, we wanted to have a family and be happy together.”

“That’s so true! Right now, we would be in town in my parent’s house”, she interjected, clearly smiling.

En el bosque Mindo, Pichincha, Ecuador
In the forest           Mindo, Pichincha, Ecuador


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Stuck in a gulley

Problems, they constantly rained upon his life, sometimes in downpours and sometimes in drizzles, but they always arrived with the right answer, tucked neatly in the arm. 

Camino a Ibarra Carretera Tulcán a Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
On the road to Ibarra          Highway between Tulcán and Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

“What do you mean by that? Right now, you’ve completely lost me and left me stuck somewhere, in the middle of a gully. Do me a favour and explain yourself. I can’t understand what you’re talking about!” She answered utterly confused and dejected, staring at him, her face reflecting her anguish.”

“Right now, my dear? What I’m talking about is precisely how, right now, I see the most beautiful woman in the world. The one I love and always dreamed of. And sadly,  I see her full of anguish; she’s distressed and so very worried about the future of her son. But also, if I look back, I can reach out and envision this young girl holding the world in her hand and so full of plans for the future.”

En el parque Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
The park           Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

He waited for a moment to observe her reaction. As he noticed understanding, quietly reflected in her beautiful eyes, he continued.

“She was so beautiful… that girl I fell in love with so many years ago. Do you know, by any chance, ma’am, whom I’m referring to?”

“Of course, I do, dear. You’re always so kind and so gentle. But, that was a different situation”, she replied, thoughtful, yet slightly reassured.

“You really think so?” he quickly interrupted.

Fachadas y sombras Imbabura, Ecuador
Facades and shadows          IbarraImbabura, Ecuador

“But, those were other times and they’ve become history by now”, she continued, clearly more at ease, and with the slightest hint of a smile on her face.

“And, you do know that histories tend to repeat themselves, my love, since the beginnings of time.”

Volcán Imbabura Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
Imbabura Volcano           Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador


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A retrospective oulook

As he contemplated his future, he never lost sight of his past

En el parque Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
The park          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

The father set his gaze upon her, with a look that overfilled with tenderness. When he answered, it was in his softest and most endearing voice.

“Let’s consider this carefully, my love. Life isn’t easy, nor is there any reason at all to complicate more than it already is, wouldn’t you agree? You see, just like it happened once to us; now, it’s their turn to grow up. And they’re doing a fine job of it, as it is. Still, if you don’t believe me, look at how they pulled a fast one on both of us, just a little while ago.”

Barrios de Ibarra Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
The city’s neighbouhoods          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

“But, they want a house… in a tree!” she exclaimed completely distraught.

“Yes, Ma’am. That’s exactly what they want.” He replied looking at her intensely and carefully picking his next words before he continued talking to her.

La calle Flores Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
 Flores Street          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

“Let’s consider this carefully, my love. Look, I don’t know the reason why, but, as it turns out, most of us prefer to look ahead, when maybe what we should be doing, at the moment, is to look back, instead.”

El parque de La Merced Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
 La Merced  Park          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador


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