the sun was strong and i squirmed, unconsciously aware of the little imperfections here and there. was a pudge sticking out here? was my hair taking on its own personality, as it often did on hot, humid days such as this. but that was below the surface... just bubbling a little, and easily submerged by the murmur around me. i sighed a breath of relief as a fellow interpreter (and former professor) suggested we pay a visit to a table of brazilians. the gentle lull and drawn out song that is the portuguese language, despite my own frustration in attempts to speak it, were a comfort-- like going home to a soft bed and curling up around a soft pillow. the understanding smiles were tender arms that drew me in and before i knew it i was the center of a wonderful bond-- one inexplicable to those who have not experienced it themselves. the dreams that filled the atmosphere were bound only by our imaginations and the hope as large as the God in whom we had faith-- faith that He could and would achieve dreams even larger than our four minds combined could ever dream. and then we were five, as a soft face joined the assembly-- the uniqueness of this group was that it was great for growth. and this soft face was, in all reality, the inspiration for our gathering. for he fascinated me in his ins and outs-- his passion for preaching, yet his stubborn (almost to the point of frustration) manner. he had seen me speaking with his pastor and district superintendent and suspected the mischief lurking behind the minds of the men who surrounded me. perhaps he was also aware of my own passion that somehow appealed to every dreamer as they saw a field ripe with opportunity-- if only they would plant the seed, they would think, if they could somehow tap into this aimless stream, they were sure they would have something uniquely interesting. before the end of the conversation, i found myself at the center of matchmaking attempts. would i go to rio? sau paulo? foz do iguacu? argentina? no matter, whatever the case, i would be in the proximity of brazil and, of course, marry a brasileiro. the soft face? he laughed at their suggestions. he was used to their prodding and joking. a pastor must have a wife, after all. especially in brazil. well, perhaps he was yet too far. no matter. i would marry the fatherly pastor's son. what could be better?
a couple of days later we found ourselves walking outside in the same scorching heat. how far is the canal? just a little further. and then the city broke open-- broke wide and the beauty was exposed as we approached larger, more decorative buildings that were surrounded by massive lawns and in the center of it all was a trickling river-- the white river, they called it. the rio blanco, i explained to the pastor. but the river wasn't white! why is it called the white river? what is its history. i don't know the answer to that. i have only lived here in bits and pieces of the past few years. we descended the steps to a fountain and some locals walking nearby were kind enough to take a picture of the four of us.
children shrieked, familys road in large peddle-operated vehicles, bikes cycled along the far end of the canal. the parks were not the same in brazil-- the bikes were not allowed in such areas in brazil. but then everything about america is large. we then reached the area that we had not known we'd been aiming for. small stone walls seemed to hold up the layered hill in an arrangement similar to a somewhat natural ampitheater. a willow tree stood at the far side by the bridge and we strode toward its welcoming shade as i joked with the pastor-- i could just see jesus himself preaching on the small indianapolis mount and feeding us along with the masses who'd join us. the sun was warm and despite any barriers of language that may have been there, my heart was warm as well. i will not and cannot form the words to describe the meaning behind my quiet, but as the day slowed and we soon found ourselves seperating in the cool air conditioning. and i feared, as i would fear many more times during those weeks, that these weeks would fade and the importance of moments such as these would simply fade. and the world would once again become silent.