Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sad News from Chacala

The sunset here is one of the hundreds of beautiful images captured by my blogger friend, Andee. I have been reading Andee's blog for over a year now. You can read her blog at

The sun has set on dear Andee's life. I received news today that she passed away last Sunday from a probable stroke. Andee has given me the courage to take this wonderful journey and has lessened my fear of travelling to an unfamiliar destination on my own. She is the reason I chose Chacala. I am so disheartened to not have the chance to meet her. We have been corresponding on a daily basis these last few weeks and I have been reading her blog for over a year. The last email I received from her was on January 11/08, two days before she passed away. She was replying to me about my question about ATM machines in Chacala. She helped me find my accommodations, El Faro. Once I had secured El Faro and wrote her about it, she replied that I should now arrange my travel from Puerto Vallarta airport and was prepared to help me with that. She has been an unending source of support and inspiration. I feel like I know Chacala so well even before I set foot there. She had a wonderful honest way of expressing herself in her blog. She saw beauty in the children all around her. I could picture her wandering around the dirt roads with her camera and delighted in seeing the images she posted. She lived her life as she chose. She delighted in the simple things in life. And was a happier person for it. She was environmentally conscious, picking up the litter from the beach and out front of her home on a daily basis. To the chagrin of many residents in Chacala, she felt that the development of gated communities in the area was disgraceful, and wasn't afraid to express her opinion about this. She wondered why people would ever need a pool when they have the ocean to enjoy. I have to agree with her. She spent tireless hours helping people from all over the world find suitable accommodations and answering any questions they had about the area. She loved her gardening. She travelled by bus to many interesting places, picking up flowering plants and transferring them to her garden. She was an avid reader; she couldn't get enough to read to satisfy her curiousity about things. I had planned on bringing some photography books for her as she was continually striving to improve her skills. Her images were outstanding. I couldn't understand how she thought she had to improve them. I think she appreciated the beauty in everyday things and the image didn't quite capture it the way she felt when she saw it. This is evident in her own words, posted a week before she passed away:

(Andee) So I am usually on the beach around sunset. I get to practice sunset photos a lot. Lately I have mostly been noticing how the light of the sunset shines of people and things. I don't really know how to take good photos of this phenomena, but I really enjoy how it looks.Especially when the sun is shining on kids and on people faces.

I think a camera lens can only capture what you see in that moment. The photograph explains it. What you feel in your heart as you are looking out at that sunset, or being fascinated by the way the light plays on faces, can only be felt in the heart. I think that's what Andee sensed was missing in her photos. I am so very sad. I have tears streaming down my face as I write this. I am grateful that I had the chance to connect with this remarkable woman. She will never know just how inspiring she has been in my life. She has reinforced my thinking that everyone should do whatever it is that will make them happy. And not just talk about it. And not let fear stop you from doing it. I received an email from Andee's son while I was writing this. He tells me this:

(Erik)I will be spreading some of her ashes in the water in front of chicos as of a come as you are wake so when you get here grab coke and stand on the beach and think good thoughts.

Andee loved her coke. I will be standing on that beach and thinking of her, you can be sure. I will post a few more of her beautiful sunset pictures here now. There are endless delightul photographs to enjoy in her blog. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Peace and light,


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