I need to insert a quick note here, at the top, where you are more likely to read this. Most of these pictures have been my own, however, as the days wear on, much of the pictures I am posting are from a fellow traveler on the trip, Paul Stark. I don’t normally credit the photos individually, but his skill and effort have made these entries more spectacular than if I relied solely on my pictures. Thank you, Paul, for the use of your work. I hope you can tell how much I love what you have done, and that you were willing to share. Onto the last morning of Easter Island (cue sobbing noises):
Mary Joy and I took our time that morning, a leisurely breakfast overlooking the crashing waves. A leisurely stroll downtown, meaning to eat lunch, but instead, sitting on a park bench, once again watching the surfers and the waves, talking about ourselves, our history, our futures.
We talked a great deal about our family, about her parents, and her grandparents. I didn’t know her parents, my grandparents well, and of course, that other generation was gone long before I came into being. It helps, I think, to learn your stories. The unfamiliar kind, the immigrant kind, the post-war kind. Even if I don’t identify my own experience as being a descendent of an Irish immigrant, it helps to know my space in history, that indeed, I am. Looking back on our discussion, I have so many more questions now. I count myself lucky to know that I will see Mary Joy often enough to remember all the small details that I am prone to wonder about. Can you imagine living in the flats of North Dakota, raising up six boys? Two of whom are not your own, and not particularly excited that you exist? So you send those two away, to their other family, concentrating on the four that are so much younger, in need of raising, education, and care. Strange to think of her and that peculiar difficulty, as we sat on a park bench on Easter Island, both of us beneficiaries of her labor.
Hers was a hardscrabble type of life, but it brought my thoughts around to the people there, on the island. In their second life, the Birdman life, they had lowered the moai onto their faces with the same alacrity and care that they had raised them up on the ahu. It was not a vicious toppling, though maybe they were too heavy for a person to commit violence against. But if they continued in the belief that these moai were men who had failed them in their promise to bring abundance in their afterlifes, then they could forgive the mistake. They had tried, and it was time to rest, face down, as if exhausted by the centuries of effort.
We left the island in the same plane that brought us,leaving on the one afternoon flight per day. We flew back to Santiago, four and a half hours of movies and staring out the window at water. We would have another short night when we returned. The early morning alarm was needed to catch a plane to Buenos Aires, to join up with the main trip. How strange it would be to expand ourselves after the magic of the island. It certainly couldn’t be easy after we’d bonded, bodysurfing at the beach, or walking back from the cultural show, teasing and laughing, searching for the Southern Cross. Where would these others fit into our lives?