El Olor

As I sat there with my guampa, the waft of mate, mixed with coconut shavings and anise, carry recollections of the subtle winters, in Paraguay, on its wings. It floated into my memory banks, to deposit smiles, and withdraw interest.

Sitting in oblong circles of individuals, that oscillated like an amoeba, the gourd with the metal straw would work its way around, with ease. Communion was held multiple times, daily; with spontaneity. It still takes hold, as I sipped this concoction in the early hours of the morning.

It hasn’t let go since.

Distance and time have grown.

They have grown the same way that our dropped watermelon seeds sprouted, without effort, on the red, fertile ground.

I partook in conversations about the most mundane of topics, as well as the, hard to crack, complexities of being an affirming member of a community. Cool nights, heated by the radiation sent off from different delectable delights. Warm Sopa Paraguay, Chipa Asador, and Chipa (enter adjective), created a bed for the togetherness that ensued. The togetherness that came from the shared experiences, shared feelings, and the shared metal straw.

Meat, cheese, and grease, was a recipe for hospitality, that was chased by the sipping of the, sometimes too hot, drink. Te right side of my lips are more resistant than the left.

The welcoming of this stranger than strange stranger, into many homes, taught me what it meant to be giving.

This morning, a comfort of belonging was evoked by the impregnating scent of matecoco rollado, and anis.

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