Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The man with the bag of eggs ...

It was muggy on the hill that day. The sun ablaze after an afternoon of river swelling rain. The rolling hills bursting with life. We were heading home from a jeep safari deep in the heart of Matanzas when I saw him. He was small, wrinkled and hunched over. A makeshift cane held up his scraggly, bent body. His eyes were filled with cataracts, his mouth held a few remaining teeth and in his old, tireless hands, he held a bag of eggs. There were about five of them in there. In that plastic bag. He must have gotten them from one of the countless chickens that roam the land. In front of him there was a young man on a bicycle. It was a split second in time. It was as we were driving up and past them that I saw him. I'm not sure why it was him, but it was. This old man with a bag of eggs filled me with such peace, such contentment such a sense of right in the universe. That one little moment in time epitomized one of my deepest human desires. To let go. To be able to practice the fundamental truth that it is out of our hands. To be able to walk up that hill and not give it a second thought. When it is our time, it is our time and we must try to find a way to live in peace until then. There is no struggle. We have no control. 

I was filled with peace that day. A peace that I had not felt in a long time. My core was hollow. My muscles loose. My lungs, open. I wasn't expecting that. 

This old man, I know his life is hard. I know he aches. I know he can't see. 
But he goes on. He doesn't question why. His mind does not plague him. He knows what needs to be done. There is no other way. His neighbors care about him. He knows he can count on someone. With what his worn out eyes allow, he sees life and death all around him, every day. And at the end, he knows it is out of his hands.  He is a part of everything else around him. The vast land, the deep waters of ocean, the palm trees, the mangoes, the cows, chickens, lambs and all the other animals, the rivers that flow around him. At the end, he gets those eggs and he walks up that hill free of fear, free of choice.

Time to dish.

Apple Banana Smoothie, here's to you ...

Here is what you need:

  1. Two or three apple bananas (careful here: not apples & bananas, apple bananas, it's an amazing variety. you can use other mini bananas to substitute if you cannot find them)
  2. Three cups whole (farm if you can find it) milk (you can use nut milk if you prefer)
  3. Freshly ground cinnamon, about a teaspoon
  4. Sugar cane, to taste

Here is what to do:

  1. Fresh sugar cane is amazing. It is absolutely worth seeking out. When you do, get a bunch and crush it in a mortar and pestle until its nice and juicy and then put it in your hands and squeeeeeeze out the sweet nectar. In a blender, mix milk, cinnamon and peeled bananas and whir away. Add sugar cane to taste and drink up. This dear readers, makes an amazing breakfast.

Cheers old man. 


  1. Beautifully written Oana. Crazy how differently you see things (seeing that I was there with you)


  2. Wonderful story with a great message. And an awesome smoothie too boot!

  3. Oana, thanks for sharing that moment on the hill. Apple bananas sound intriguing--it's too bad that most varieties of bananas aren't hardy enough for import. I'm so curious about what all the others are like when people who've sampled them say that the common banana in North America pales by comparison. I have no idea where I'd find fresh sugar cane, but I'll keep it in mind.