In total awe and wonder / En admiración total

“Ocean, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man — who has no gills.”
― Ambrose Bierce.

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The Pacific Ocean, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Los Angeles, California (2016)

Apenas se asomaba el carro fuera del segundo túnel de la autopista Caracas-La Guaira, el mar Caribe aparecía en toda su gloria. Los niños saltábamos en los asientos de pura emoción y coreábamos al unísono: “Ya llegamos!, Ya llegamos!, Ya llegamos!”. Sabíamos que la visión del mar azul escondía la promesa de una playa y de muchas horas de diversión al sol. Esa emoción de ver el mar -como si fuése por primera vez- aún vive en mi luego de tantos años y de tantos kilómetros de por medio. Quizás la emoción ha transmutado en una suerte de reverencia y ahora contemplo el océano en total admiración. No hay nada como un océano para poner mis asuntos mundanos en la perspectiva correcta. Ante esa masa de agua fenomenal, todos mis problemas se muestran minúsculos, mis preocupaciones se vuelven risibles y mis planes aparecen como ejercicios futiles. El mero tamaño del océano me impone un completo silencio*

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As soon as the car came out of that second tunnel in the highway from Caracas to La Guaira, the Caribbean Sea would appear before our eyes, in all its glory. Every time then, the kids would jump up and down in our seats in excitement and start chanting in unison: “Ya llegamos!, Ya llegamos!, Ya llegamos!…” (We have arrived!).  We kids knew that the mere sight of the blue sea hid the promise of a beach and countless hours of fun time. That excitement of seeing the sea -as if for the first time- has not faded away and remains with me through the years and the miles and miles away from my home country. Perhaps that excitement transmuted into reverence and now I watch an ocean in total awe and wonder. There is nothing like an ocean to put worldly things in real perspective. Before that huge body of water, all my problems are so minuscule, all my worries become so petty, all my planning seems so futile. The sheer size of the ocean is enough to hush me*

Self-images coming back at ya / Imágenes que regresan de vuelta

The world out there does come back at you with reflected images of yourself. By acting as a mirror of others, one may actually be keeping one’s own sanity.

Montreal Science Centre, Montreal, Quebec (2006)

(English version follows below) Esta foto con mi sobrino y ahijado Rubén (alias “El Matemático) y las otras fotos en este “post” me recuerdan que el mundo externo nos refleja a cada momento. A veces la imagen es clara y pura. Otras veces el reflejo no coincide con la idea de lo que creemos ser y se nos viene una sorpresa. Un espejo representa la cordura misma pues, como tal, el espejo refleja todos los fenómenos sin distinción y sin prejuicio. “Espejo, espejito dime una cosa…” comienza aquella famosa línea del cuento de los hermanos Grimm. Y, de hecho, el espejo no miente!. Entonces, en la medida que cada quien sirva de espejo fidedigno de otros seres humanos y de uno mismo, en esa misma medida estamos siendo cuerdos. *

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Palos Verdes Arts Center, Coffee Shop, Los Angeles, California (2015)

The little picture above with my nephew Ruben (A.K.A. “The Mathematician”) together with other photos in this post remind me that the world out there comes back with reflected images of oneself.   Sometimes the images in question are clear and taint-less. Some other times, those reflections do not agree with the accepted self image, so we are in for a good surprise. A mirror is the representation of sanity itself because a mirror reflects all phenomena without distinction and no prejudgement. “Magic mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land?” goes the line of that famous Brothers Grimm’ story. And, in fact, the mirror tells the true!. Thus, if each one of us serves as a trustworthy mirror of other people and oneself, we are keeping our own sanity *

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Delage automobile (late 30’s model), Peterse Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, California (2016)

Stubbornly Curly Hair / Indómito Pelo Rizado

Palos Verdes Peninsula, California (2015)

(English text follows below) Por supuesto, ella detesta la foto de arriba porque su pelo luce  salvaje e indomable.  A mi, por otra parte, me encanta la foto porque su pelo está -precisamente- libre e ingobernable. En nuestros paises hay un estigma asociado a los pelos indómitos y rizados. “Pelo Malo” es una película venezolana reciente que examina este estigma arraigado en la cultura de aquel país sudamericano. En cuanto a mi, con mi calvicie galopante, yo agradecería tener más pelo, no me importa si es pelo “bueno” o pelo “malo”.

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Needless to say, she hates this photograph to death: she thinks that her curly hair looks way too wild and unruly. I, on the other hand, love this picture for the very same reasons she hates it: i love it because her curly hair appears here as wild and indomitable. In our countries, there is a stigma associated with stubborn curly hairs. “Pelo Malo” (Bad Hair) is a recent Venezuelan movie that depicts the stigma in question, which is imbedded in the culture of that South American country. As I grow balder every year, I would be very happy if I were to have just a bit more of hair on my head, I don’t care if the hair is of  the “good” or the “bad” type.