Celebrating Life

Here is another great post from Gin!  As with the last few posts, this is Karen (shall I call myself, “The Phantom of the Blog”? ) posting from the states (Texas for that matter).  For those of you who may be new to Gin’s blog, for the time being she is in the rurals of Patagonia and  has extremely limited internet access so she emails me words and photos when she is able and I put them on this blog.  This is an incredible post from Gin so grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever you like and sit back and enjoy!

my outdoor office


The day begins as we leave this house that currently feels like home along the Rio Trocoman. Just for one night.  To see Ginny at her chacra in El Huecu.  I have missed her and it seems as if it’s been a while since I had a hug from the other Virginia and a healthy dose of her stories, laughter and contagious passion for life. Coincidentally, it is Bob’s birthday.  Not that I have anything planned, nor anything purchased.  It’s been months since I went to a store.  Though I wrote him a poem on a handmade card by candle light this morning.  I think at times my words are my greatest gifts.

refecting last light

We take off in the still early morning before the sun rises high enough on the mountain to the north east to warm our little lush pocket along the river.  We are horseback, heading out for the six hour dusty ride across the arid foothills of the Andes to see Ginny.  She is worth it.  Our horses are laden with our double sleeping bag, some tortas fritas to share with Sky, and a few gifts for Ginny, including a long branch I cut from a Lombardi poplar tree in the pasture just outside her studio, now strapped on to the back of Bob’s horse, the leaves now turning a vivid, glowing yellow and ready to sprinkle down like the golden kisses Ginny once told me would come in the fall.

early fall color on a rainy day

We stop for a break mid day at Buta Mallin to visit with Sky.  We arrive in perfect time to help dig out her septic system which has been clogged up after twenty years or so of use, and collecting socks.  Go figure.  We are amazed as Sky finds what appears to be a perfect match.  Apparently old polyester does not decompose.  I am grateful for the fragrant mint she grows in her herb garden just beside where we are working.


We arrive at Ginny’s as the sun is lowering, welcomed by warm and familiar faces.  And the luscious smell of goat meat roasting over the fire.  Jorge is preparing an asado for Bob’s birthday.  The full moon rises and we are out there feasting by the fire with good friends, new and newer, somehow dear, one and all when joining together to share in a simple celebration out in the warm early autumn air.

bob and alcides at the asado alyssa bobby nicki

The feast is topped by a masterpiece cake perfectly prepared by Ester.  Crema de leche and dolce de leche and decidedly delicious.  Our silly rendition of the American birthday song and a candle for Bob to make a wish for the upcoming year, and I can only imagine the love inside of him as he stands there somewhat uncomfortable being the focus of attention, which is not a place Bob chooses to be.

~                                             ~                                             ~

packing rocks for the bathroom floor

For Bob

Eight at night and the rain continues.  I’m back home by the Rio Trocoman. The rain has not stopped today.  Nor has the fire died.  I have been here writing since returning from this morning’s horseback trip to our “kiss and ride” where I left you to begin your week long adventure where you will be working for TA at the Ranquilco on high country pack trip.  Modestly, as is your way, sharing more of your gifts from your fifty years of pack trips.

I have worried about you all day, wondering if you might come home, the trip delayed, the thought of leaving on a drier day more appealing and more practical.  Maybe it is to you.  How many times have you had to saddle and leave in the rain and remain wet for the duration of your pack trip?  And here you go again.  Though somehow I hold the hope that it is drier here and tomorrow the sun will shine and although you will be out a little higher on the mountain in your half of our double sleeping bag, I will be home sharing our bed with Gunnar in my half.  May my love reach you as you curl up at night under a tarp and try to keep warm without me.

I sit here warm and dry and wrapped in wool by the big fire, with the dog on a blanket at my feet.  Soup boils and I am sipping tea and the only other light is a candle in the antique silver holder next to me and I wish you were here and feel foolishly incomplete without you.  And somehow wrong for being so comfortable! How lucky I am to have someone I miss already and you’ve not even been gone a day.

patagonian wood run

christine ginny hannah

For Ginny

It is not possible to look ahead and see how and when and from where we’ll say goodbye this time, for the thought seems unreal, impossible, and unpleasant, though I know that day approaches.  At this point, I keep my focus on two things.  First, of course on the book.  It is taking on a life of its own and consuming me this week.  I am happy to let it and give myself to the muse and find myself unable to hold back the flow of words, only struggle to keep my fingers moving fast enough to capture the surge of thoughts, roaring like spring waters.  It is happening, Ginny.  Your book!  And I believe it is going to be very good.  The second thing is how to come back.  Longer.  Maybe to live. I feel we are not done, but only beginning.

Really, the thought of saying goodbye to you, to Sky, to this little Spirit horse, to these trees,  to the wind and water that have become me….  I will think no more of such things for now.

lying in the leaves

easter easter 2

For Forrest

And now today is your birthday, Bud.  Happy Birthday to you, my son, my friend, my team mate and partner and at times my guide, my creative equal and often inspiration and now physical superior (there, I finally admit you are stronger than me!). Twenty.

And I remember you being born.  I suppose most mothers do.  The things that change our life forever.  For the better.  The things that matter most.  The one thing I always wanted.  You!  And oddly enough, this mothering thing is even better than I thought it could be, which I thought was pretty good.  And that’s because of you.  Who you are. The gifts you bring to the table of this growing relationship.   They are as plentiful and full as your open mind.

I guess somewhere along the way the line connecting mother and son is rebuilt on friendship and a growing adult relationship.  Not that I’ll ever stop caring.  I care about those I love most, whether I’m your mother or not. I’ll worry, I’ll advise, I’ll think, plot and plan, I’ll lose sleep and gain grey hair and still wish I could do more.  I’m just that sort.

Of course there is so much more I want to say, to share. Boy do we both have a lot of stories to catch up on together.  I’ll guess we’ll have to wait.  For now I’m down here in Argentina.  You’re up there in Canada.  Both lives and worlds are pretty amazing.  And next thing you know, you’ll be meeting up with Bob, on another crazy adventure which involves snowmobiles and fine Scotch  (though not the two at the same time, please) and I’ll be back with my horses, my cats, a new batch of chickens and crossing that bridge we built together, awaiting your return.  There’s no metaphor there.  That’s the real thing.  Though think of all that bridge can mean.  Teamwork, crossing the uncrossable, finding a place of our own, making peace, open souls, exploring and being brave.  And a lot of hard work.  Another dream come true.  I have lots more of them to work on.  And I can’t wait to hear and maybe urge you on to come up with a mountain of dreams yourself.

Let them soar in the wind with your growing spirit.  Or perhaps it is a spirit awakening.

I love you, Bud.  Happy birthday to you!


6 thoughts on “Celebrating Life

  1. Hi Gin, Thank you for sharing your life and thoughts with me. You capture so much with your words. I try to paint pictures with words. You are an expert. Keep sending your wonderful messages. We are going to take a trip out west by car in September, including much time with your folks. We are looking forward so much. I had back surgery in January for spinal stenosis. Happily, I am now pain free and getting back to hiking. I just started my eleventh program at a medium security prison in Connecticut designed to help inmates improve their communication skills and develop life coping strategies. I’ve impacted the lives of over 100 inmates over the last three years. Helping others, which you already know, is the greatest gift in life. Hope we see each other some time in the future. Dick Sederquist http://www.dicksederquist.com

  2. What a joy to “watch” all of this unfold, Gin! I have to remember to breathe…it’s so exciting, rich, fulfilling and forward. Plus, the best of all…it’s full of Love.

  3. Well, Gin, first, it’s MY son’s birthday today, toooo! He’s 16 and I feel exactly the words you wrote. :)
    Second, you sound like metamorphosis, transition, change in all these posts from down there, every chance I get to read them. Something is happening! Evolution is dharma, good for you.

  4. Thank you Gin for the pictures and gifted words. Trocoman is a magical place. Nice to see Ginny with smiles on her face. Her life is hard and she gets so lonely. Getting the book started and actually on “paper” with give her something to think and dream about. I enjoy your posts,

  5. Gin – No doubt it will be a beautiful book, Ginny is lucky to have found you, and as you say – you her. I know that feeling well :) Thank you for recapturing for me so beautifully that slice of luscious Patagonia life in her presence, that scenery, that peace, with your words.

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