In July of 2015 Cheryl and I travelled to Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil – her as an RN and I as a general helper on a medical mission trip organized through the Chambersburg Hospital. It was a privilege to experience first-hand the moving and enigmatic power of the Amazon River and its people.
Like most indigenous peoples across the planet, the tribes of the Amazon are caught between their ancient native culture and the modern world, incapable of fully belonging to either.
Perhaps no other picture I took better captures the spirit of our relationship than Child with Polaroid. Every child we saw was eager to have their picture taken. They were accustomed to visitors with cameras and smart phones. However, I don’t imagine many had ever been given back their own image, as Dr. — had just done here. It is without a doubt the first image of himself he has ever held in his hands. He immediately offered it back to Dr. —, not understanding at first that it was a gift. As the realization settled on him that it was his to keep, I took my picture.
I’ve known rivers;
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.
My soul has grown deep like the rivers. – Langston Hughes
The shifting particle/waves of light defining and destroying time, transient clouds on transparent winds, the flat surface of the water cutting through to the edge of the world, the quick life of slow creation revealed within sound and surface, the spiraling pinpoint mosaic of stars… all the vast motion of the universe, the greatest forces mirroring the smallest.
I cannot resist the dizzying power of the sun crossing the rim of the Earth, bringing night or bringing day. Sunsets are easy, you just wait for them to happen. Catching the sun rise is another thing; I am not typically a morning person. However, the timing of our daily routine in Brazil quickly insinuated itself into my circadian rhythm and I found myself awake every morning just before dawn. It quickly became my favorite part of the day.
With stars still overhead, I climbed to the top of boat.