Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mars Tonight and More Yesterday

From the Farmer's Almanac:

"In January, turn to the east to watch Mars rise at sunset above the horizon. The red planet is at its brightest this month.

On Wednesday, the 27th (tonight!), Mars makes its closest approach of the year.

Exactly two nights later, on the 29th, Mars is opposite the Sun—and will really light up in the night sky. Highest at midnight at magnitude –1.2, Mars outshines every star except blue Sirius."

Go out and enjoy the sky show tonight. Everybody's got one and it's free.
 A friend I used to call Opal Garry (yes, he sold opals - to jewelers and stores around the Caribbean, which is how I met him; he used to stay at a small hotel I managed on St. Croix) is married to this rather phenomenal woman named, ever so appropriately, Gracia. Over the years I get emails from Garry telling me about her work around the world, helping out in disasters in more ways than I knew there were ways to help. She humbles me, in the good way.
When I was looking for some ways to help out in Haiti, I was cyberly introduced to Santiago, (whom I've mentioned here - a lawyer in both Vieques and the big island), through a friend on Vieques, I had no idea he was a Scientologist, and barely remembered that Garry and Gracia are as well. But that commonality within a formalized framework that was already in motion allowed a powerful, wonderful connection to form for the benefit of Haiti and her people.
Here are a couple of photos of Santiago. Maybe you'll recognize one of your boxes of medical supplies in the back of the truck used to get to Mayaquez from Ceiba after Plan A morphed into Plan B/C/D...and in days instead of hours reached Haiti. Ultimately, I think it was a good thing as forces for good united for even more strength. You can read Santiago's story here. For more of Gracia's report and photos, go here.
In Puerto Rico, Volunteer Minister Santiago Lampon gets ready to drive 
a 100 by 30-foot tent and several thousand bottles of water to Haiti. 
The first leg: a boat ride from Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic.

photo credit: Gracia Bennish

In the Dominican Republic Santiago has an accidental encounter
with South American superstar Ricky Martin and tells him why he is there.
photo credit: Gracia Bennish

Of course, this makes Garry and Gracia sound like 'very serious people.' I've never met Gracia face to face, but Garry, who is Australian, is funny as hell and makes a great drink - what was that drink we made up? - and I figure she must be just as much fun, if only in self defense. Plus, they have one of those marriages where he is her biggest fan, and I like that. Thanks again, all of you, from Culebra.
I had all sorts of plans for Tuesday. Chickens, garden, making hot sauce...that turned, instead, into a long good day with Laurie and Phil. Culebra is like that...a thing waits that can and what is better often takes its place.

We watched waves and plants along with crabs and chickens and ducks. We listened to crashing water, beating wings, laughter and quiet talk. We ate pinchos and ribs and drank pina coladas and blueberry freezes and soft drinks and some not so soft. We walked slowly and we stood quietly; quietly enough for barely visible crabs to run over feet, as lightly and softly as spiders spinning webs. We turned our strife into plowshares, and didn't let any beauty go unmarked and there was much beauty. We had a very fine day.




 (don't forget you can click on any photo to make it larger)

We ended the day at Mamacita's, telling story.
One day, today will be a story we tell...
while listening for whirr beating of wings on water


  1. nice indeed.....all the elements of a heavenly kind of day....thanks for being part of it....and i adore your brother. both of 'em. and great shots....haven't gotten to mine yet. soon. just remember you can't tell island time by a digital clock. (thanks Tony!!)

  2. Thanks and thanks and thanks. Yes, my brother(s) rock. And Tony's saying is now legend. I'm off to Genesis to buy eggs (I hope) or no muffins today! Oops!

  3. sounds like a great day! It was a balmy 45 degrees here in Maine yesterday - it felt quite tropical to us. Love your photos - where was the first one taken?

  4. LaMadre, the first one was taken in Puerto Rico...I think in Ceiba, as they loaded up supplies from Culebra and Vieques and more, to head to the west coast and the boat to the DR.

    For Maine right now 45 WOULD be balmy! hope you were out tanning and grilling!