Trusting the Unknown in Colonia Uruguay
A moment that forever sticks with me: I discovered how to trust the unknown with a calm confidence, and it all happened one day in Colonia Uruguay.
Colonia del Sacramento is an historic little town located in southwestern Uruguay, on the Rio de la Plata River, across from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Getting to Colonia is an easy ferry ride from Buenos Aires. The high-speed Buquebus ferry takes about an hour to cross the river. You enter the town through the wooden drawbridge in an old, tall stonewall known as the Porton de Campo or the City Gate.
The music evoked feelings of hardship yet perseverance, suggesting that while life can be tough, each of us can survive and thrive.
Colonia has a rustic, Spanish-Western feel, painted in vintage greens and golds, earthen browns, rust reds, and steel blues. It exudes peacefulness. Sailboats traverse lazily along the river. Even the dogs are content. I took the picture of one dog who looked up at me curiously, head still bowed, the first of many beautiful photographs. It’s a photogenic place, with wrought iron gas lamps, colorful doorways, and 1950s VW Beetles perfectly restored and sparkling in the sun.
On the Calle de Sacramento, a cobblestone road leading to the river, I heard musicians strumming a steel guitar and playing a harmonica, as if they were cowboys at a campfire under the stars. Antique terracotta homes line the street. A calico cat watched from a distance.
Quickly finishing my chivito sandwich and cold cerveza outside Plaza Mayor, I walked toward the music. The sound was soulful, slow, and serious. It evoked feelings of hardship yet perseverance, suggesting that while life can be tough, each of us can survive and thrive. That’s what heroic stories are all about.
Right then I had an epiphany. I understood that I should trust in the unknown. I should let the path to the future just unfold and flow like the river; I should be open to life as it happens, as every day is a new day. At that time, I had been unemployed for an extended time. I felt uncertain about my life’s direction and was recovering from many intense, toxic years on Wall Street.
I should let the path to the future just unfold and flow like the river; I should be open to life as it happens, as every day is a new day.
But in this moment, I could feel the sunshine on my face. I smiled and let my worries go. “I love life and I’m going to be OK,” I thought, and wholeheartedly meant it. This moment was so important, so compelling, that I felt the need to capture it somehow.
At the end of my day trip I sat at the river’s edge, watching the sailboats cruise by, and waited for the sunset. The sky turned golden and then a dusty rose to match the pastel colors of Colonia. The petite river waves were illuminated dusty rose and burnt orange colors. The moment was quiet yet powerfully beautiful.
Returning home to New York City, I saw an artist selling his oil paintings in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His style, color scheme, and brushstrokes captured the feel of Colonia, a town that lent itself perfectly to the medium. I realized that I had found the perfect artist to commission a painting of Colonia, to help me capture that profound moment I’d had in the town. Luckily, Yumin ‘Andrew’ Lo agreed to paint my moment in time on Calle de Sacramento: the musicians, the road, the cat.
The realism of his artwork is striking. He captured the moment as if it was my photograph. Now I have this painting hanging prominently on my wall in my apartment. Whenever I feel doubtful, I look to the painting to remind myself of the time I discovered this magic in Colonia. Have faith. Life may take twists and turns, but through perseverance, love, and trust, a new day awaits to be revealed.