This week I experienced several different forms of beauty. Not all of them may seem appealing to the naked eye but with a different perspective, I learned to find the beauty. The first experience came when we visited the Guayasamin Art Museum on Tuesday. Oswaldo Guayasamin was a 20th century Ecuadorean artist who used his art as an expression of human and social inequalities especially regarding the slavery, racism, and poverty in South America. Much of his art comes across as sad, daunting, and at times even frightening. The beauty in his work though, comes with his effort for peace. Guayasamin used his art so that others may feel the sadness and realize the need for equality and peace.
The “odd” beauty continued as we traveled ten hours in a tour bus Wednesday night to Puerto Lopez, the pacific coast of Ecuador. This coast was no Miami or LA. Puerto Lopez is a very small fishing town and the streets were far from glamorous. But as I watched the people living and working there, I found hard work and determination. The streets held very small stores where people were trying to sell what they could to make a living. The items ranged from handmade bags and hammocks to Coca-Cola and Chips. Many of them were at their stand from sunrise to sunset. Not only were the items beautiful, but so were the people.
At times the beauty was not so hard to find. On Thursday we went to the beach and swam in the ocean! The water was not warm but not as cold as the Washington Coast, either. I had so much joy as we “swam” in the shallow waves, being tossed side to side by the power of the tide. We were playing like children and we were carefree. When I looked out at the horizon and realized how far the coast stretches all the way to Washington, I had an image of how small I was and how enormous God’s beautiful creation was. That, is beautiful.
Equally as beautiful and magnificent was the trip to “Poor Man’s Galapagos” or Isla de Plata (Silver Island). We were able to watch the largest creatures on Earth put on a show for us. Humpback whales were one of my favorite animals growing up and here I was watching them flip through the air only a handful of meters from our boat. It was incredible. When we first arrived at the Island, though, I was not very impressed. I saw dry, dead land and plants. We saw some very beautiful birds though. The blue footed boobies were very cute. I soon realized though that I climbed all the way to the top of this gigantic island. How could I not find beauty in such a large land mass in the middle of the ocean.
And last, perhaps the most odd form of beauty: mud bathing. We drove to the archeological site of Agua Blanca just outside Puerto Lopez. At the end of the trip we had the chance to cover ourselves in mud and then rinse off in a lagoon of sulfur water. It was perhaps the most strange thing I’ve ever done: using mud to clean. However, it was a ton of fun and my skin felt incredibly smooth afterward. This week, I have had so many experiences with nature that I have never faced before. But all of them were beautiful in their own, unique way.