Monday, January 16, 2012

Andean Corn God

I took a bus through the Andes from Sucre to Tarija, and I can easily believe in God now that I have crested these high Andean plateaus and seen with my own eyes thereon miles and miles of crops growing on otherwise desolate plains at the very top to the world, these majestic mesas producing for the first time in history food enough for the people of a nation. If every man on earth today were to pile up dirt and stone, at the end of a lifetime they might altogether rival the being of one mountain here among the thousands standing silently and without celebration, these marvels of nature, mute and unremarkable in their glory. And yet it is only a few scattered families working who outstrip nature in a season by growing corn on these mountain tops so high they leave most men breathless and sick. Corn grows here enough to feed a million men for a year. And there are more mountains yet to please us.

These giant bulks of stone and a scattering of soil would leave most expecting to find hovels housing the semi-starving peasants, as has been the history of man for most of history and beyond; but here and now, in the mountains, just barely a reach from the sky, one finds Japanese-made 4X4 pick-up trucks pared in a glow of electric lights cast from farm houses fit for kings, houses filled with healthy children watching satellite television or playing video games on personal computers while parents prepare dinner to satisfy the hungriest traveler who might knock at their door, the children eating and sleeping in peace and security of a loving household after a day's pleasant life, awakening to a hot shower provided by solar panels, washed fresh with soap that smells of heavenly gardens, breakfasting on mixed mangoes and milk made smooth in a 16 speed Austrian-made blender, fresh eggs and bread and butter. If life is better for a Malibu multi-millionaire, it might be only marginally moreso, if at all, all the surface of California glitter being worth not one family member's day away from home. A farm at the top of the world, and a family cashing life under the skies, all of it looks down at the earth's abundance made real by man acting for man. There was a man named Norman, but there are others, unknown to all but family who made and maintain this paradise of food and family, people as unknown to the world as the mountains of southern Bolivia, giants all of them.

In the night I travel across the mountains, down steep valleys and up again over passes the rise into the clouds, moonlight shining through puff-ball blue clouds drifting across the sky, purposeless in their existence but proof of the further road ahead of me as I ride over the roads made my man to fulfill his destiny as living thing content in a bountiful world.

Mountains so high one is sick to travel across them, and there is food there and there are families who make it all flourish. I know all this because man has made roads, and I travel over them. These roads ar the paths to the future of mankind, higher than any mountain, grander than any peak, all of it pointing to a wonder one might see as God in his perfection.

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