There once was a country mouse and a city mouse.............
I am a country mouse at heart. Growing up in rural Ontario, Canada; I picked strawberries, helped with the haying, and drove a tractor on a tobacco farm for summer jobs. I waited at the side of the road for the yellow school bus that carried farm kids to the local town to attend high school. Agriculture was a compulsory subject for boys. We learned about raising farm animals; went to cattle and seed judging contests and filled out farm tax forms.
There was a time when I’d ride through the country-side and be able to identify the crops and animals. No longer. Adult life took me to the city and, lamentably, memory fades. I can no longer distinguish one breed of cattle or seed from another.
Not lost is the feeling in my heart for, and appreciation of, farmland, country folk and animal
Living here in Ecuador, that bond remains. The land is different, as are the crops, the farms and the people. However, the sense of connectedness to the land, those who work it, and rural life, is still there.
This past weekend, I drove a few hours South of Quito and over the Western Andes Mountain range to Guaranda. It is a small town at the foot of the immense Chimborazo Volcano. ( Because the earth bulges at the equator as it spins, when you are at the top of Chimborazo, 6267 meters altitude (20,561 feet) you are further from the centre of the earth and closer to the sun than if you were atop Mount Everest. – Measured from sea level, Mount Everest is considered the highest)
While the mountain scenery captures my attention, it is seeing the people going about their activities that draws my attention. I’d like to share some of what I saw, in the following photos.
There were farmers who had just picked carrots from their field; washed them in a stream of mountain water diverted into the roadside curb; and, packed them in bags to take to the market. For each large bag, they expected to earn $ 6.00.
A fast food “restaurant” along the side of the road often consists of a freshly killed and hung pig and a cooking pan mounted above a propane stove. Pick the meat you would like to eat and it is cut and fried in front of you.
An bare footed elderly lady, carrying a large bundle of grasses on her back, led her sheep along the side of the road.
A lady sleeps on her doorstep; then, awakes.
A mother and her young daughter, riding on a donkey, made their way along the side of the highway. The opportunity to pose for a photograph was too much to resist for this smiling young girl.
An overgrown cemetery is a reminder of those who have gone before.
As I returned to the city, the clouds opened a little to give a hint of the snow-capped majesty of the volcano. The land, for kilometers around, was like a barren desert, with little vegetation. Llamas stood on a high embankment to watch us pass.
I am a Country Mouse at heart. I feel connected with the earth and the people and creatures around.
Is there a Country Mouse in You ?
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