I’m back in Bogota! The rain last night delayed some of the services at the airport and so I got home really late. I woke up this morning thinking about a friend I made at Colegio Jefferson in Cali. Her name is Claudia and she is such a beautiful person. Claudia is the woman I wrote about previously who invited Pablo (my tour manager) and I to her home to meet her husband and children. She had not been feeling so well recently and I was a little concerned about her. On the day we were scheduled to return to Bogota, she sent me an email saying that she wanted to meet one last time before I left. She said that she had something she wanted to share with me.
We scheduled time to meet between check-out and the time we would take the taxi to the airport. Claudia met Pablo and I in the lobby of our hotel and she was as radiant as ever. Do you know people who, with ease and grace, simply exude inner beauty? She is one of those people.
After hugs all around the three of us sat down and Claudia pulled a strange looking fruit from her bag. She called it a “Zapote.” Claudia has been, somewhat, Colombia’s ambassador of goodwill and fruit tasting for Pablo and I while we were in Cali. I have to tell you all something. I have traveled to the far ends of this earth and Colombia has got to have more fruit than any other place on the planet. Every time I turn around I am trying a different fruit. With motherly patience, she taught me how to peel the fruit and pull its meat apart from the core to eat.
I wish I could describe all the different tastes of all of the different fruits but I can’t. I have to honestly say that the blends, scents and textures of many of the fruits defy explanation. The beauty in this tasting was that this woman went out of her way to come to us and share something culturally that she felt we needed. How often does that happen? Experiences such as these, and they have been too numerous to chronicle each and every one, but experiences such as these have made this a cultural adventure.
The Zapote was extremely messy and colored my fingers a bright orange at the tips but I didn’t care. The child in me inadvertently took over as I found myself licking the remaining juices from my fingers. The adult in me caught myself doing but said, “Who cares! Enjoy!” Luckily I didn’t go as far as kicking my shoes off (another habit I acquired as a child when eating something really good). Oh! It is sort of funny because when I was at Jefferson Claudia gave Pablo and I an assortment of things to try one day and what did I do? Kicked my shoes off! I didn’t even realize it. I apologized and she let me know that, and this was so beautiful the way she put it, she said, “that puts you in closer contact with the earth.” Life can be poetry at times can’t it?
In recalling this moment earlier I just felt the need to share it with you.
I have always said that we living, breathing storytellers have an advantage over popular media in that we touch, see, embrace and hear our audiences. In all of the years I have been storytelling and playing my music professionally, I have gained friends (true friends) all over the world. I am in constant contact with people who I met more than 15, even 20 years ago.
The experience of sharing that single piece of exotic fruit was poetry physically manifested and an example of what relationships may be if we invest ourselves in them.