Chapter 5 Turquoise (Turqos)

DOO-DOO-DOO-DOO, DOO-doo-doo-doo, DOO-doo-doo-doo” … it sounded to Ziggy like an old Indian chant as he came down the path. Then he saw its origin―beside the river sat an elderly Mapuche man playing something like a Jew’s-harp. He continued his music as he looked at the young man coming toward him. “DOO-doo-doo-doo, DOO-doo-doo-doo, DOO-doo-doo-doo.” A small sparrow hawk perched on a branch next to the Mapuche Elder was bobbing his head to the beat. When the music stopped, the bird let out a loud chirp and flew away.

“Äwana, young man, how are you on this fine day?” the man inquired. “Feeling happy as that Kokori,” Ziggy declared, deciding to use the word meaning, “hawk,” one of the few Mapuche words he knew.

“You are speaking my native tongue, where did you learn it?”

“From Eloy. I am staying at his place on the river,” Ziggy said as he admired the turquoise the man was wearing around his neck and on his wrist and fingers, all matching his belt and buckle.

“Eloy is a good man, although when he first came to this valley we had our doubts. I am the Orator of the Mapuche, and as such, I was authorized to talk to him, tell him our truths, teach him about our beliefs, and make sure he did not disrupt our balance with nature. It is easy to see the effect nature has on us, just look around. It is also important that we understand the effect we have on nature. The Mapuche believe that all parts of creation, including humans, are alive and connected with both the supernatural and the natural. Thus, the mountains, woods, rivers, lakes and ocean are born, grow old and die. Sometimes they become sick of natural causes but many times the sickness is brought on by man.” He sighed, then went on: “We as a people are standing at a crossroads; the effects of our mistreatment of this earth are showing up everywhere. Tomorrow is February 15th, the middle of summer here in the South Americas. Look up at the volcano, you see the sombrero of clouds hanging over the top today? Tonight will grow very cold and for the first time in February, these foothills will receive a coat of snow. All across the planet the weather is warning us of this cause and effect.” Ziggy thought of another old man he and his father once encountered in Costa Rica as he sat among his cows and chickens, watching the sunset. The old man was friendly and told them he was having a wonderful vision of his childhood, growing up on this same land. “These hills you see around you, when I was young, were covered with large old trees, as was true of all this area from Nicaragua to our capital of San Jose. It was truly a rain forest and rain it did, all year round.” They had looked over the hills behind them and had seen no trees, only dry, dead brush. Even though it was the middle...