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Nicaragua Parrot Pilgrimage - A Journey of a Lifetime

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

Epic journeys usually star one or a few heroes who find themselves moved by forces beyond their control or their understanding. The fates lead them to unexpected adventures where the outcome is never assured. With not too much of a stretch of the imagination, I think each of us is on such a journey. It’s called life. As assuredly as each of us was born, each too in their own way is worthy of a story well told and remembered. What brings out the power of our lives is to share our journeys and to whomp the magic of intentionality onto possible outcomes.

Such will be the parrot pilgrimage coming this December to Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. We will walk around the volcanic island where there are thousands of parrots, hundreds of people who love them, and tens of conservationists who are dedicating their lives to these species. (For those who may wish to not walk far other transportation can be arranged). This journey of 3 days will show us new worlds of communities and ecosystems, and invite us into new understandings, relationships, and friendships. The journey that begins in Nicaragua could last a lifetime. By participating, you will also be showing and offering real support for the parrot conservation work there.

Children during the annual parrot festival in 2021 - which will be celebrated in 2022 during the pilgrimage (photo by Norlan Zambrana Morales)

We enhance the chance for bonding with each other and those we meet because as we move from town to town, and also engage in parrot counting in every location, we will have many chances for reflections, conversations, and spiritual practices that invite us to connect to the wondrous earth and the wildlife that lives with us. The goal is to both celebrate what life is and what we could be, and alas, to also mourn all that has been lost and yet still could be. We walk to manifest our sorrow and our joy, which are both prime ingredients in any adventure. Our time together will show each other and the world that the parrots and people of Nicaragua matter, as do such beings do everywhere. There has been too much hardship for the declining and captured parrot populations in the world and for the people who live under their bright wings. Our walking is both a statement and a question of how we can both save and savor the world.

Our walking pilgrimage will include many steps, covering a little more than 20 miles (33 kilometers) over three days. Consider taking the first step today on the journey by learning more and signing up.

The Journey

by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice –

But little by little,

as you left their voice behind,

there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do --

determined to save

the only life that you could save.

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