The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (November 24, 1808 – September 29, 1890)
I was pleasantly surprised upon my return to Loja. When I left three years ago El Centro was undergoing major repairs and renovations. The streets were all being repaved. The sidewalks were being leveled and tiled and the downtown utilities were being moved underground. It was an absolute mess. My two pairs of shoes were completely destroyed and it was impossible to remove the mud stains from my pants. Now, except for the installation of some traffic lights, recycle bins and a few other finishing touches, the project appears almost complete. In stride with the upgrades in the El Centro area, many local homeowners and business repainted and beautified their structures. The physical aspects of the city have changed but the quiet, slow pace nature of Loja, the friendly, warm people, (the reasons which first attracted me) are still thriving.
The city has experienced a revitalization which according to Webster means to give new life or vigor to: the action of imbuing something with new life and vitality.
This is why I returned. I am in need of a revitalization of my own. Cuenca was a three year side trip for me. It never felt like home even in its happiest moments except for my garden and after experiencing two heart attacks, my heart told me it was time to leave. The changes I require are physical, mental and spiritual. I need more than a coat of new paint. I am here to recharge my battery and to reconnect with those parts of me which provide the inner strength I need to continue to live this life I love. I have no more to give right now. As Tim Kreider says:
As with most artists, my fondest worldly goal is to be left alone: I dream of an empire the size of my apartment.
Now I have both the empire (meditative space) and the solitude I require to heal and to revitalize for the next phrase of this life. I can regain the energy I need so that I might be of better service to myself and to those who might need my assistance in the future. I am still here. Just hibernating for a while. The old will be new again, soon. Revitalized but still the same.
Church of the Coronation in December 2014 upon my arrival in Loja.
Church of the Coronation in December 2019 upon my return. Revitalized but still the same.
Loja Mágica — Revitalization