A bus ride across Ecuador will leave anyone aspiring to be a National Geographic photographer, as you don’t need a talented eye to see or appreciate the vibrant visions that cast themselves through this country’s rollercoaster of mountains, volcanoes and valleys. I’m not a big fan of superlatives, but I hereby give Ecuador my highest mark and star as the country owning, “the best bus ride” of all my worldly travels.
And I would know, seeing as I just finished a 30-hour sit on a cross-country trip.
Of course, it doesn’t actually TAKE 30 hours to traverse the entire of Ecuador. Not unless you sleep through your stop and wake up in the Eastern Oriente, 16 hours out of your way, anyway.
So was it the way my hair had suddenly sprung into ringlets (climate change) that gave me my clue that I wasn’t on my way to the city anymore? Or the mud and gravel road and bushy hands of thick rain forest trying to reach through my window to shake me to attention? Or the way the patrol officer raised one confused and curious eyebrow when he shook me awake for a brief moment to answer his inquiry and I told him I was on my way “TO” Quito?
No. I’m pretty sure it was when the bus driver discovered me under a blanket in the back seat of the bus and said, “Ah Gringita! I didn’t know you were still here! I thought you wanted to go to Quito! You know we stopped there eight hours ago?”
Yes. That’s about when it dawned on me.
So I stumbled out of the bus and sat on the curb and watched my 4th consecutive sunrise in four days (I get an inch of credit in consideration of the fact that prior to my “nap” of consciousness to the obvious, I hadn’t slept for 40 hours) rise over the North Eastern Oriente of Ecuador. And suddenly, something else started to rise inside of me. It started as a low tickle in my stomach, and then gurgled into a rising giggle, jumped out of my mouth as leaping laugh and finally hurdled me into a mass of hiccupping hysterics.
And sure the situation was funny, but this was a bottle that I had been — in taking myself (and life) all too seriously — shaking for weeks. And in this breaking moment, the comedy of life finally uncorked, I had no choice but to absolutely explode in relief. Oh to laugh at myself! To smile upon my mistakes. To chuckle over my insecurities. To see the unsuspected curves in my path as nothing but terribly needed comic relief! And as I sighed and wiped the last tears of joy from my cheeks, peace overcame me.
I think sometimes we forget how important it is to forgive, have compassion, practice undefended love, and LAUGH at ourselves. Life will be a drama if we allow it, but incognito, underneath, lays always a divine comedy. And I’m so happy that I can be confident that if I ever get too caught up to get the pun and punch lines of living, then Life WILL go the extra 500 miles to redeliver them — until I do.
(If you missed hearing about the time I got on the wrong PLANE, feel free to laugh again with me in my story of “Adventure Incognito.”)
Sitting one day on a cliff to the sea
Opened from the sky and fell from above a small key
Unlocking the divine in one single beam
A path to the source of all light, love and being
Opened old, closed and dusty love doors
Swung suddenly wide open, where now the wind blows
Let finally out to breathe in a breeze,
On which all things and persons can now come as they please