Guest columnist: Carlos Vives, singer-songwriter
One day I saw my son cry because the Magdalena River was in danger. My wife Claudia spontaneously recorded it and uploaded it to social networks. I remember that the video was shared using my son as an example of environmental awareness. From then on came countless questions from Peter about the life of water. And I decided to write a story to read to him before bed.
The story begins like this: The wind moved the cloud towards the top of the mountain and brought it closer to the moor. There were the frailejones and the encenillos forest. They extended their hands, extended their tongues and all their bodies to touch the air and absorb, like sponges, the water. They condensed. Do you know how difficult it is to condense? Then, the water, which had been disrupted in the clouds, began to assemble drop by drop in the hands of the Tayronan Indians who kept it in sacred lagoons and who waited patiently to deposit it on the moss that did its work and filtered the liquid beautiful. What had been air became a small flow and crossed the Andean forest happily singing a bambuco and even a whirlwind passed by. Thus, growing more and more, he reached the tropical humid forest and, with just enough, he made the garden of Marcelino, a peasant of the region, flourish, happily following his course towards the savannah. He sang a free vallenato, while growing in volume and size. The animals approached and she generously gave herself, with freshness and joy, quenching the thirst of all those who came to look for her in peace. It got big and frothy as it went. She felt her emotion grow at the proximity of an immensity that awaited her and that was her happiness: running, shaping the earth, cheering the children in her path, jumping from stone to stone, fishermen on the shores and a deep desire to reach the sea, like everyone else’s… To then return to being a cloud and playing with the wind at the tips of the mountains.
Pedro looked at me with his eyes fixed on the images that the story described, as if he saw them, as if we were together in front of them, watching everything go by. And the story went on like this: One day, the water came down the frailejones, caressed the lichens and played spontaneously in the moss. But when she wanted to go out, she no longer found her Tayronan friends who were protecting her. Upon reaching the cloud forest a shadow crossed his path. A bipedal shadow, an elongated shadow, a shadow that had hands capable of catching. That shadow kidnapped her. Scared, the water tried to flee. And although he lost part of it, he managed to escape. But it didn’t get very far. Upon entering the forest, he realized that Marcelino, his friend, was no longer there. The forest had been cut down and its path eroded. It slid abruptly between the rocks, trying to flee, but collapsed with the ground and caused damage. Full of fear and without the strength from before, she reached the savannah. Instead of creating it was destroyed, its channel was dredged and it was contaminated with foreign colored liquids. Then she realized that she was no longer the same. With all that, he kept his desire to live and to meet the sea again. She felt his close presence and that encouraged her. But as she crossed the town of long shadows, she received so many plastic bags full of trash that she felt exhausted. He no longer had the strength to reach his desired meeting and he stood there, looking at the sea, feeling that he was slowly dying.
When the story was over, Pedro looked at me and I saw in his eyes the unmistakable glow of hope, of an age that should last forever, ready for tenderness with the land, with the rivers, with the people, with his country. Could it be that we can put the water back on its way?