Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Portobello at San Lorenzo

Terry loves old forts. Rainald drove us to San Lorenzo. The ruin of the fort was perched on top of a cliff high above the mouth of the Chargres River. It was first built in 1595 by Spaniards to protect all the South American gold being shipped down the river. It was destroyed by pirate Henry Morgan in 1671 and rebuilt shortly afterward. Morgan captured the fort by shooting flaming arrows which ignited the Spanish gunpowder forcing the troops to surrender. The jungle surrounding the fort was used for decades as a jungle training area by the U.S. military. On the drive in we spotted a large falcon feasting on its bloody prey high up in a branch.

Terry and I wandered the ruins together for a while rushing from one shady spot to the next, then she encouraged me to sketch while she read a book in the shade. I was delighted when she suggested I do a second sketch. Rainald was talking to a Scandinavian couple who had pulled up in an RV. They planned to camp overnight at the fort, and they chatted for quite some time in Swedish. I was feeling great after finishing the second sketch and I started walking back to the shady tree where Terry was reading her book. I was surprised when she met me half way in the forts mote.

She held up her cell phone showing me the calender. She said, "Does this day mean anything to you?" It was April 28th, her birthday. I hadn't looked at a calender since we arrived in Panama. "Oh shit," I thought. She was visibly upset and I didn't know how to make it up to her. As we sat in the shade of the crumbling ruins, Rainald cheerfully approached us, and we had to shout out that we needed some time alone. A week has gone by and I still haven't mended my oversight. I'm not sure I can. I really messed up this time. As I approach 50 I carelessly loose myself searching for the next creative rush. I loose sight of what is most important in life, perhaps overconfident in the impregnable strength of marriage.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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