Luke jf Schlather home
I met a man named Cesar who has a reforestation project on one of the hills around San Ramon. He was a part of the Sandinista army during the revolucion, and his family has been an important part of the community here for generations. (Since the time that the Spanish settled the area.)

Cerro de la Cruz
The hill of the cross, as they call it, was deforested to make grazing land for cattle, as was much of the land around here. Cesar has spent twelve years, along with the help of some of the other people who live in the village, building up the forest around the hill. It's a bit of an interesting contrast to the sort of reforestation project I'm used to in the States, where we usually just stay out of the way and let the trees grow. Here, because they have such a young forest, a forest fire would be absolutely devastating. As such, they constantly clear the brush around the trees, so that their work will not be undone. Many of the saplings he plants die, and he has a large reserve of new ones ready to plant.

Cesar in the trenches
He also showed us the trenches at the top of the hills where the Sandinista soldiers would watch for Contra fighters. He explained the strategy they would use to us. At the top of each of the hills around the village would be 10 lookouts most of the time. If they knew that Contras were on the way, each would become a full-blown war camp, with soldiers manning trenches ringing the hill (we could still see these trenches.) The commander would be in the middle of the hill, along with a basic first-aid station, a mortar, and the munition store.

Hearing him talk about the view from the hill not in terms of what a beautiful view it was but in terms of the strategic value - it's one of those places you can see just about everything - got me to thinking the two may not be that far apart. That is to say, in an evolutionary sense, we find the view from mountains aesthetically pleasing because genetically we know that it will safeguard us in case of a battle.

I need to stop analyzing the evolutionary purpose behind our emotions. It gets really depressing really quickly.