Panama | Love

You could see just by the way they were standing on the side of the road that they had been through it all. Well past the struggle of the divide between man and woman and into the balance of supporting each other with unconditional love. Their shrinking bodies so tiny compared to all the others on that crowded bus. In the tradition of Latin America, Clara and I gave up our seats to the old couple and stood in the aisle holding the bars hanging from the roof. Standing behind them, I took in the sight of their sound love. Two heads leaning in wearing the traditional hats of the indigenous, finely woven with wonderful patterns and so durable to withstand the blistering sun.

dscn1897The bus rolled on down that dusty road. Music blasting the reedy sound of accordions and high-pitched male voices. The music competed with baby chicks chirping away from boxes in the laps of many of the women on board. The bus stopped along the way to drop off passengers and take on more. A mother of three little ones got on and made her way to the back, random people picking up the kids and putting them in their laps. An elderly woman grabbed with both hands the meaty flesh above the hips of the women standing before me and said in Spanish she was all women, then smacked her a few times on the bottom. She just smiled, bringing a giggle from the old gal.

dscn1901We rode past the dry countryside of open fields skirted with big and broad trees with dried out leaves, occasionally filled with cattle and men on horseback accompanied by their dogs to help herd the cattle. Such a harsh environment to raise anything in. Only getting rain during the rainy season.

I was happy for the breeze from the open windows as the sweat ran down my back. Across from me a grandfather sat with his granddaughter, trying to get her to drink some juice, holding it to her tiny lips with tender love. Those dark shiny eyes of hers never left him. Going past homes of bamboo and grass, others of concrete block and metal roofs. A voice called out for the bus to stop and the old couple made their way off the bus, holding each other dearly as they walked out onto the road.

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