I’m in a quiet place, reclining on my bed, alone in an 8-bed dorm. There is no internet reception here this afternoon, which happens from time to time. This is the place where I often come to spend some quiet time writing while the (mostly) young people are having fun at the bar. It’s been years since I actually enjoyed that kind of social engagement, but I remember what it felt like. I do participate a little, but I mostly enjoy it vicariously.
The fact that I can’t access the internet now – most likely because the hostel’s router needs to be reset … no, it’s that the electricity has gone out (I can tell because the fan in the room has stopped) – has left me alone with my thoughts and a blank page of a Word document, on which I will write whatever comes to mind within the time left on my battery. Something I saw on Facebook went something like, "I can't believe the NSA reads my emails. I don't even read my emails." I don't think anyone reads my blog, so I tell myself that whatever I write is between the NSA and me.
Ah, the electricity is back on. The internet is available, but I'm not going to connect to it. I'm suddenly feeling a great appreciation for this time I have to be alone in a place where I feel free to think about and talk about whatever I want. So, I guess I'll start from “where I am at” this very moment.
Even as I enjoy the perfect paradise that is Paracas, I feel as if I am living to see an apocalyptic change in the world. It’s something I've seen coming for many years (but that’s another story). I've even had some idea of what to expect. Still, I'm still surprised – in the way I am by a story with lots of high-suspense twists – by the way it’s playing out. Everything that is happening now may be leading to a cataclysmic series of events, maybe worldwide, that will ultimately lead to the emergence of a new kind of human. But I also accept the possibility of an alternative outcome, which is that our species will bring about its own extinction because of its inability to adapt to the very conditions it has had a hand in creating. Our species has turned the natural world, of which we are part, into a disposable consumer item, a resource for those who are greedy for death over life. We have done so much damage to the earth, it has reached the limit of its ability to maintain the conditions necessary to support our lives and the lives of countless other species who also depend on what the earth provides. It wouldn't be the first time that there has been a widespread species die-out. There have been five mass extinctions – which should be instructive. But, for the first time in the history of the earth, it would be caused by a single species, “homo sapiens” (a misnomer if there ever was one) who had every reason to know what they were doing.
I’m past being depressed over this. I went through a long period of depression for some time before, during and after “the events of September 11,” partly due to longstanding health problems and partly due to years of unremitting stress, I sought treatment from a doctor who treated me with such disdain that I began to think she wanted me dead, (She certainly wouldn't be the first.) I began to do research on my own health conditions online. I designed a diet to correct nutritional deficiencies associated with those health conditions … and I began to travel. I took Che Guevara’s words to heart: “Deje el mundo cambiarle y usted puede cambiar el mundo” (Let the world change you and you can change the world). I don’t know about changing the world, but traveling has changed me. It changes me every time. It’s when I go “home” (almost anywhere in North America) that I experience culture shock.
But there’s time to prepare for that. For now, there is an ocean with dolphins, a beach (and a pool), desert, ceviche and, occasionally, an interesting person with whom I can share some good conversation. There are hot, sunny days and cool nights dark enough to see the stars. When I’m not thinking about the fact that the world as we know it is being destroyed, I’m getting lost in the beauty and the wonder of it.