Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My Mentor: Pastorcito the Brazilian Anteater

One of my favorite moments on home video (I will upload it soon, and add it to this post, it's a 1998 VHS!) is of

me coming out of the snack bar at Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina (on the border...hmm, must be a liminal thing)

A friendly (and hungry) anteater (rare species: giant anteater..not nearly as big as the one in this pic...Myrmecophaga tridactyla ) is seen stalking me as I leave, spying the food in my hand.

I am not sure I even knew he was there until watching the video years later.

But I hear his name is Pastorcito(:

The video is great (Note: the videos here are not mine, or from our trip, just found them on YouTube), but even it cannot do justice to the sensory-surroundscape of being there.

But once you have been there, done that, and bought the T shirt (literally, proof in this picture) and returned to the "real world," one forgets to remember.

It's impossible to describe the size scope and beauty of the falls.. Superlatives are woefully inadequate. Wikipedia tries:

"Upon seeing Iguazu, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly exclaimed 'Poor Niagara!' Vastly larger than North America's Niagara Falls, Iguazu is rivalled only by Southern Africa's Victoria Falls which separates Zambia and Zimbabwe..views and walkways and its shape allows for spectacular vistas. At one point a person can stand and be surrounded by 260 degrees of waterfalls. "

The falls rank #2 on this list of
"The 100 most beautiful places in the world."

Of course, I'll never fully forget the scenery.

But I want to never forget or forsake the anteater...

> anteater who had no idea she or he was

pandhandling gringos, just yards from a world class wonder.

>...An anteater who is now my mentor (Is this what Earl Creps would call a "reverse mentor"?) ...both positive mentor (the simple life, don't worry about what you'll eat, etc), and negative:

Philip Yancey tells the story of his first visit to Old Faithful in Yellowstone
National Park. Tourists surrounded the place where the geyser would gush forth,
their video cameras trained like weapons on that famous hole in the ground. A
large digital clock predicted 24 minutes till the next eruption.

Yancey and his wife waited in the dining room of the Old
Faithful Inn through the countdown. When the digital clock reached one minute,
they—along with every other person in the dining room—left their seats and
rushed to the windows to witness the big, wet event.

It was then, says Yancey, that he noticed something. Immediately, as if on cue, the crew of busboys and waiters descended on the tables in the dining room. They refilled water glasses, cleared away dirty dishes, and swept up crumbs. Just a few steps away were tourists, oohing and aahing and clicking cameras as the geyser
erupted. A few even applauded.

But Yancey noticed that not a single waiter or busboy—not even those who had finished their chores—even looked out
the huge windows.
Old Faithful had grown entirely too familiar, and it had lost its power to impress them.

I live just down the highway from Yosemite; every time we visit, as I watch the visitors from many continents take in the scenery, I remember to remember to be impressed.

To mix up the metaphor:
"Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries, And daub their natural faces unaware..." -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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