Wednesday driving out to a workshop with base community leaders in the farthest zone of the parish I passed a horrid site – a hillside denuded by burning and cutting of trees.
As we are facing severe water shortages in the face of high temperatures and little rain, this is a serious attack on creation.
The previous night I had seen a fire in the distance and nearly wept.
But in the midst of this there is beauty.
Last week we had a heavy rain in the afternoon which unleashed the incredible fragrance of the guama trees by my neighbor’s house.
Then there was the beautiful sunset on Saturday.
But the real glory of the acacias is upon us. These trees, sometimes called arbol del fuego or flame tree, bloom at the end of the dry season here. Their red flowers are gorgeous.
Flowers are blooming in the garden on the south side of my house.
Yet I was in for a major surprise yesterday. I saw two brightly colored birds, mostly yellow, by windows in the second floor of the house. They are skittish and flew away as I approached, trying to take a picture.
These two birds, oropendolas, reappeared this afternoon. Laying down on the sofa in my chapel I heard them and managed to get a blurry image of one of them.
So it is also in terms of the people.
People are killed or threatened because they speak for the poor and for creation. Berta Cáceres was killed more than a month ago; a journalist had two attempts on his life a few days ago; a priest I know received death threats for being at the side of his people as they face large scale gold mining in a river in their parish near Macquelizo. Poverty continues; deaths continue.
But in the midst of this there is life.
We’ve had four workshops with base community leaders where Padre German led them in a very participative reflection on what is Church.
We also had fifty-five young people, together with about 8 adults, participate last Saturday in the diocesan youth encounter.
A few days ago a neighbor's son harvested a flor de izote on a tree in my yard. i hope they enjoyed it. Three more should be blooming soon.
And tomorrow Goyo, a young man from Plan Grande, will be married in the church in El Zapote.
The mystery of life in the midst of death.