Reflections on a Quiet Day at August’s Dawn, 2019


I live in a beautiful apartment.

It sits on a high ridge in a celestial city in the central range of the Colombian Andes, ten stories up, with beautiful views all around me.

I live here surrounded by things accumulated over a lifetime.

To me, not just things but small bridges to the past, to people I’ve cared for, to events that for good or ill, made me who I’ve become.  The “things” make it a comforting place, make it a place where I can survive and sometimes thrive, but there are moments of extreme loneliness when the memories the things evoke remind me that their avatars are long gone.

There are people in my life here, pleasant people, even family, cousins, but no profound ties, except for one person, and she and I have never attained the relationship I was certain had to evolve.  My profound ties are elsewhere, with my sons and their families far to the north, a continent away.  Still, those ties are strong enough so that echoes reach me regularly, … and I can almost pretend they’re still nearby.

The ancient English ballad Barbry Allen comes to mind, the beautiful version Joan Baez sings.  I play it several times, imagining ….  I know not what.  Today is one of those lonely days, made more so by music, that primordial language that reaches directly into our souls.  The Yankees should be playing soon, I get their games here, it bring me closer to my past, to New York and to young adventures and the old castle where I spent a dozen years of my life, apparently several lifetimes ago, or at least it seems that way.  Amazing that after so very long I still maintain in contact with so many from way back when.

Nostalgia twines with melancholy, not quite sadness, I am a hopeless optimist, idealist and romantic, so, … not quite sadness, but something a bit hollow.  Still, echoes do well in hollows, perhaps some will soon sail in to brighten my day.

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2019; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen).  Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at and much of his writing is available through his blog at

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