Stranded, we don’t have the luxury of recrimination. We recognize that we all must pull together.
|I amuse myself with a weird little still life.|
Yesterday was a wonderfully warm day of rain. It wasn’t heavy, like one would expect in a rainforest, but light and lacy. In a moment, the sky would cross from bleak to brilliant and back again. Rainbows broke spontaneously over the mountains.
Despite the exotic beauty, none of us are traveling with umbrellas. We decided to stay inside. Lynn Mehta and Lisa Flynn painted interiors. David Diaz agreed to sit, so he was painted by Jane Chapin, Natalia Andreeva, and Kellee Mayfield. I made a desultory effort at a still life, above. As you can see, my heart was not in it.
|Jane, Guillermo and Cristina puzzling over this morning's news.|
Mostly, we attempted to find a way home. The State Department recommended that we contact a travel agent in Buenos Aires. We did; they could book us from Buenos Aires to America, but we are two thousand miles from Buenos Aires. The current rumor is that flights will not resume from El Calafate at all.
What we have found is that the Patagonians themselves are about a thousand times more informed and helpful than any central administrators, government or airline. I confirmed that the airport was closed over WhatsApp; my new friend Sebastian answers my messages, which is more than I can say for Aereolinas Argentinas.
|Kellee takes our temperatures daily.|
Of course, our Patagonian friends have only a few people to worry about. Our State Department and the airlines have tens of thousands of people on their docket. Still, a day spent on logistics left me feeling fractious. I’m not anxious, but I realize how oppressive our bureaucratic culture can be, even in small doses.
The irony is that we are at least as connected as people back home. Kellee gave an interview to an Arkansas television station; it was their lead story. Yesterday, I ordered a new brush roll from Amazon. That reminded me that I should Facebook my postal clerk to tell her that we won’t be home any time soon. I’m getting photos of my grandkids, family news, and even the occasional phone message.
|Laundry, quarantine style.|
My fellow artists remain patient, cheerful and kind. Yes, we could have made different decisions that resulted in a different outcome, but there have been no recriminations. Yes, we are running out of wine and clean clothes. But we agreed on our course of action, and we continue to support each other as we muddle through. Nobody talks politics; nobody blames anyone, and certainly not our government. We recognize that, in extreme conditions, we must all pull together.
At one point, Kellee pointed to Guillermo and Cristina and said, “See this couple here? They are the epitome of what humanity should be in a crisis.”
That—the best, rather than the worst—is what we’re focusing on. Paul exhorted the Colossians to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Nobody here is overtly religious, but they’re living that.