Sunday, February 26, 2006


Sometimes it takes a ten foot tall stone jaguar statue to remind us that the "dominion over nature" hasn't really come to pass. This statue was transported by rickety banana boat off of Isla Zapatera to Granada, Nicaragua sometime in the last hundred years. It got pretty uncomfortable for me as I stood beneath the downward gaze of this imposing figure from precolumbian times. The jaguar head is considered a depiction of an effigy hat which the shaman wore during ceremony.
According to Anthropologist Barbara Tedlock, the jaguar is the calling card of the woman healer in many places in precolumbian Central America. Women shaman were often midwives as well as religious leaders, which is a more elevated role than we civilized folk give to RNs today. Historical and archaeological evidence for woman shaman is more spotty in Nicaragua, due to the general lack of pyramids and gold frogs in the lands between the old empires. Not sexy enough for National Geographic funding.
But this jaguar is patient.
Check out Barbara's new book "The Woman in the Shaman's Body" - it won the National Book Award for Creative Non-Fiction for 2005.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Supple and tanned

If you've lost your shoe, it can be found on the main road to Punta Gorda on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua. The single shoe has been a re-occurring waking dream of mine for six months or so. I don't understand how a shoe can lose its buddy. Sometimes they can be found on the sides of freeways, or in large, empty parking lots. The creepiest single shoe i ever saw was on a trail in the woods at golden gate park, san francisco. A single black plastic women's shoe. I even looked around for the other one that time, but that's not really how it works. Sometimes a shoe just has to make it alone. The most hilarious single shoes, in general, hang from electric lines in small southern towns.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Shout out to my ancestors

This is my paternal great-grandfather Paul Dungan with his new wheels. Paul unexpectedly dropped dead shortly afterwards from a brain aneurism when he was mowing the lawn. A dignified suburban death that I hope to aspire to.
The name Dungan was lost when my grandfather was adopted by the Hurds, but my father brought it back by making it my middle name.
Long live Dungan.