Danny James

130: Patagonia part 2

Dec 14 ’13
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport

Greeting Customs officials at Santiago, for their lot in robust manner and expression of disinterestedness, were not found to be so rigorously adherent to formality as promised, and instead the affair of entry proved a quicker, less intrusive experience than had rumour forebode. Although perspiring barely shy of comforts tether, it was an unblemished tone of indifference toward all things external, which met new arrivals in a masterly effect of silent pillar resembling, by the stoical saints of Chile’s border. For this immediate ferocity deficit, found trepidity pent a double expediency from my chest, as the actual docility of the event fell over the scene, bleaching out angst of the unrecognisable.
The funneling slowed, and thus pressing shoulder to shoulder with fellow cargo, the air thickened abruptly, already dense with warmth and wilt. Bon Iver, who I’d rediscovered on my flight home from New Zealand less than a week ago, incrementally swelled into the earpiece, the partner of which removed so as to hear the beckon that I could not translate by the gargoyle perched in a cubicle. Even if perhaps more suited to the sauntering landscape, his songs, in me are salient union of mellow commove and swirls of homesick reverie alluring best to the vagabond nature, who, content in his mortality observes thusly all things in its own transitory. Whose mind gathers flung and obscured peculiarities wherever, thriving but in present mirth and unable to further interpret. Who socialises terrifically with hopeless strangers on hostel rooftops, and who requires such melancholic melodic sedatives to better enjoy his gaps at home, and there recover at whim his travels forages in lonely reminisce.
At last a strange place to lose myself in. To drown that plain life of old in new and exhilarating threats, that seed wider awareness and deeper character, effacing in bloom the former judgements thereof. Time hereupon will be gloriously stretched and occupied with what role, or repose and rapture as fits any moment in its duration bathed. This is where an education can begin; in such exams as making it out of an airport with what I have, in territories unknown and alone. And suddenly all that I do not know is rushing upon me, yet knowing well that at the other end will I be, though exhausted to enthusiasms end grain, better of myself informed if nothing else.
Digestion of the line ahead suddenly frees me from a daydream stare, and with a splayed vista now to my advantage, I take in the percussive heat smouldering off the windows, through which offered a glimpse of the grand Andes I came to marvel, as they held an antiquated prominence, faded behind halation of humidity and blighted air.

There was nothing bothersome in driving around in colures and figure-eights, searching for my hostel that was not located where my map had indicated. Sifting the similarities to other South American suburbs I’d visited kept me busy in absorptive differentiating, collecting and reading over individual traits dispersed in the streets as we passed. There was however, at least from what I could gather but twenty minutes into the crammed activity of the centre, more in concordance than not. Such like grimed cobblestone stone roads banking into broken gutters, simple and unaccoutred housing alternating between modern designs of glass and steel, and bared faced neo-classicistic dilapidation. Graffitied stores with failed coca-cola signs, barred windows to keep secure the spoiled produce spilling over another night; thick power line cables hanging low over bustling mercados, and the unmistakable concert of blaring car horns and Latino-salsa-pop building and paling over again. Then there was the agitating torridity, bearing down in waves of unrelenting swelter, hanging layers of smother over confinement, against which the little air-conditioner could make no assertion.
The taxi driver knew as much English as I spanish, and made every sincere attempt to alight me to my desired harbour, stopping frequently to enquire with other drivers and passers-by as to our place in relation to the destination that nobody seemed to know of, or have ever heard about. Since he and I could only communicate polite trivialities, celebrating near lucky breaks and let-downs by reactive expression, it was a sure merriment of errors, mostly mine that I was not so well prepared.
But then, O such is what enjoyment breeds. When the pear falls ripe to your feet before its due picking. You never savour the fruit as much when surprised with it. When much of our lives, and what is commonly fundamental to getting a living, requires routine. There may even be some daring left in thee heart, and an oversight thusly would prove it, wonderfully. There is never fear, come will the worst far from home and friends dear, but instead an everlasting trust in the retributions of the Universe.
My kindly coachman had while assuring profusely once more that we were upon the heels of success, exited the vehicle to accost some friendly English-speaking locals to my window. Travellers too, they were; confidently jovial as only unwashed, nowhere and no one to be, go-a bouts are. They smiled quietly and from the heart. Still my plight was not amusing to them, and I appreciated it, regaining quickly my foothold on whatever of my hopes had wavered, even if unknowingly at first the new energy was not outwardly visible. But fortune fled again, it was not to be. My friends could not aid in the matter, and exhibited a critical woebegone attrition of the fact realised. Myself, I exhaled deeply clandestinely, growing in private deflation, or so had thought a sufficient secrecy. Yet how this was ostensibly clear I do not know, and wonder how it is that I am at times immediately aware of the external reflexive physical testimony manifest of poorer emotional states, and yet bridle the better. In truthful hindsight, my automated response was more a symptom of tiredness than frustration, though perhaps my angels would know it not.
One his halo tipped and appealed honestly tenderly, ”welcome to chile,” and with it, were they dissolved into the same thin air from which they first appeared, – traces of good-will contagion lingering as dust in the atmosphere after, like a jest you’ll understand in time. Wracked, with candid shame, suddenly a review of the soul discovers, that I did not address my divine interveners respectfully as appropriate. Did I to this place, from a glad and luxurious life with me brave bring a frown here? What a nerve, amid such health and wealth of opportunity!

When finally arrived at the Happy House Hostel, on Moneda Street in Santiago’s downtown area, the largeness of it I found unique of what I have hitherto been practiced of in shared accommodation. Resembling rather a settlement period school-for-the-arts, with the impatient glare of an aged European administrative locale, rigidly functional and obscured thusly of its distinctness, enjoining directly to the adjacent building with hardly conspicuous divisions betwixt. Were it not for a small sign on the doors impressed into a cavity, the Happy House may have sat unnoticed. The room allocated, first on the right with double doors was a grand and spacious one, dressed in suitably vintage attire. As high as wide, and unnecessarily wide and Epicurean slanted rather, for a single person of an attempting Epictetian uprightness. One very large and inviting bed, two smaller opposite, I am unsure of the sizes. Numerous cupboards and drawers of ample carriage for an armies store, a writing-table hemmed by two cushion embroidered chairs, – that I liked quickly very much; several window rests under arched floor to nigh-ceiling windows with fold-shutter eyelids and dark heavy drapes to choke out surviving light. Plenty there was but nothing new, which was consoling somewhat. Came further appease upon entering the connected washroom, which displayed to me the precise amount of lack of contemporary embellishment, and a below basal efficacy I can be grateful for. With the shades sealed and bed-lamp struck, the room fell into an auburn shroud with sporadic tints of tawny refraction and hidden summer heartache; resembling where might an outlaw take pause in concealment until a dash to the border presents a worthwhile chance at a last hope in heaven. Perfect too, imagination supposed, for the addled poet with a penchant for the privacy of cancelled daylight, who can immerse the hours with but the wondrous outflows of his divine substance, and yet be not only preserved, but risen to a health past ordinary bounds.
I would need to make do, with my undramatic and beautiful life as it is, here on the ground.

I sprawled a city map across the coffee table possessing the rooms midmost, in mock scrutiny and listless concern for the trajectory of my impending walk. I panned above myself, withdrawing up in a circular figure receding, a gazing ghost portending the ebb and flow of the undertow, looking over somebody still very much alive and unsure of it. Taking the tide, I headed out-of-doors and right, walking around the block at first, then expanded my perimeter in proportion to my knowledge of the Brasil neighbourhood and beyond. Marked my points of interest passing through, attained my bearings and positional interests until lay the night its blanket and I made for home looking up through gleaming holes in its fabric. Preceding our fair suns collapse, of the first and dearer things I strolling saw against the burning metropolis form was a convene of young lovers two. In front of a ruined cathedral they embraced, happy passed of partings grim sentence, stealing in a braid down avenues I would not go, with none but a rose pressed between them, and every share of Elysium inside.

Needing repairs I lapsed at last into bed awaiting sweet slumbers progress, that soft rejuvenate of Nature, to close my eyes and submerge the consciousness softly into a far away lull of sympathetic vacancy. Came instead an absurd and separating anguish, descended and saturating a despair that could comfortably neither mirth nor calm budding penetrate. My poor eyes stayed open, of an end their watch deprived by the stirrings of my mind. I knew however it could not last, having been pressed this way before. The discomfort would not deeply permeate, nor invest root in the soul, – it was merely the quickness of the days rich experiences. An overbearing flood of new sensory delights, in the multitudes, every nerve moved to unfathomable rapture. The sounds, the images and impressions all swiftly, gloriously at once with momentous gravity outpacing perception processing. You can only let it rain so, when it does; be settled amid, allow the fall and observe the commotion come to rest; can reason then metabolize the information and form the proper judgements, so the soul may transcend its lamentations, and find again its peace.

The Happy House Hostel, Santiago Chile, 2013

The Happy House Hostel, Santiago Chile, 2013


There is no way knowing as the sun retreats, if it is perhaps for you the last of days. Withdraw but a moment as the daylight dims, to dwell upon your change, and how equipped you have become to contribute better; if it be fortunes good grace your eyes open tomorrow.

Coogee, Australia 2012

Coogee, Australia 2012

128: becoming benign

Brother mine, harsh and reaped, that you would learn the much you teach of patience at quarrels come, and how much further might you reach if not stopped to violations sum. All is not the piercing you receive, but by bad reckoning of occasion. Thy posturing belies it; thy rough wit attempts to gloss the account that my better boding by denying, endures: for I can not, and I must not become that viper and snatch from my friend, small victory on a day will yield him few.

127: becoming viper

That you have met the viper’s fang is not to figure every rock or shrub some dreadfulness conceals and avoid forever the trail’s attract, but see how all the wood’s creatures affrighted are, and veil the scourge in aggressive policy.

126: the window

I have been several uncompressed days, without an account of my becoming, and delighting in the contours and tone of a new morning sky has long been increments clear of reach. For those wonton days leave little to heave upon the pages then, and all the disenthralled while I was courting distraction has Nature borne the lonely anniversaries with hushed distress, waiting at the window dressed in Spring light.
Between us I put every bleakness, and am the sole bringer of the sleet that piles sable on our sill. I closed tight our portal, by coarse inattention, wandering terribly, failing, and still would thee not know how to produce an unfair Winter. Thy fits thee taketh for thunder but apologetic snow flakes prove, swirling for some place to be hid of the shame and thy warmth by soon dispelled. Thee will not withal long let me brood to trivialities, sighing unawares the breeze finds fissure under my glacial coat to the busied consciousness leads, and I am saved! Saved at last from what grave hex overtook, when all thy severest balm did nothing dissuade. It amounted to a whisper, my rescue; surrounded and agonisingly crystal -

Your mundane duties, forswear. Come back to me.

Man, never thine eyes avert, whence being gone must some part return; to reconcile with Universe.

Bondi,  2013

Bondi, 2013

125: Patagonia

Dec 14 ’13 – There is a point in the auroral air, when, not arrived to full definition, cloud and sky are one hue dividing gradually, and the hinted at majesty unfolding pours steadily into the patient soul a satisfied resignation. Birds inform of the event by song, and flutter in the blue darkness from branch exuberantly to branch, becoming increasingly silhouette against the burgeoning light of Earths lantern approaching over the bend. The warmth of sun is felt far and wide before it spills over its gold and becomes a fixture in every eye. The clouds too declare it, now glowing pink as burning embers; with night thinning to extinction, – the magnificence inevitable. Commencing a pristine infinity, to enter upon, – an everything ahead of me. It is this in-preparation, I have recently discovered, that fulfils me to the zenith of amends, and when it settles it is time to board an escape pod, and ride the skies to Patagonia please.

124: when it rains

It arrives odd hours my sweeping inspirations; a torrential outpouring that, warrantless rains hard with no remark to my good pattern and springs me from recess semi-witted, into duty. A catch or two o’ the break would keep me in high cheer and portly health for days, and so fretting about the cabin, sought a handy pail, barely at most have I hope or humour to hold a vessel high and exclaim ‘it falls, how it falls,’ that it no sooner starts raining but it stops.

123: those hills

Those hills where rests your often look; let reason sleep awhile, – go there.


Commonly after a spell abroad, I return to find the usual irritations of home have in my absence been polished to the plenitude of their quality, proving me thus a man of poor judgement. The greater share of dust is always laid over the intellect.

121: what I came for

Extravagance of air and light today fetched me early from indoors, and no way knowing or caring where, would I follow so long as were sun and breeze proliferate. Being my final day in Nelson, instead of thus choking for want of natural restoratives, agonising the golden hours decrease under airport ceilings, I went some time afoot along the brow of Nelson’s lesser ventured neighbourhoods to draw my tonic. They appreciate a quiescent and leafy verdure, whom reside their cottages at the gardened feet of the hills which smile down at them and permit every bit of sunshine saturate that can. The escalation too is cordially progressive, and lures from the road many an ambler wearied with the flatness to immerse the senses awhile. I saw myself, three walkers at the least, suddenly stuttered in their way over inner reasoning succumb to the promise of cool escape therein among the reeds. Detouring into one of many pockets of shade, there lies a niceness often missed and never regretted once enjoyed, where the freshest state will seek its repose, and awaken a pleasure in being alive again it might not have known was slumbering.

Rows of hanging trees lean off to one side of a track, and dip their curtains into ebullient brooks providing an extensive tunnelled wonderland for whom may saunter along the fringe of that Eden. It befalls all aspirants a passage slow and blessed, for the eye darting, trying cannot rest on every confection, and the mind… laced with the soothing scent of summer flowers seeping in, sinks into a docility resembling what drapes the access of dreaming.

There isn’t a treasure else in the world could spread before me I would more alluring deem, and scant left in traditional busyness or responsibility to bribe me here from tending to my affairs. There is no shame in a divergence, of rational self-interest. Your very maintenance compels it. All the world will uphold its meddling be assured. Seize a duration and abduct your space, let the crowd where they will. Few roads or shoulders collide where a man’s primary enterprising steals inward, making his own acquaintance, and getting to know his needs. To spend some breath getting a better air. It is above all requirements, the principle requisite to living a useful and satisfying life; to obtain by sentient intention a precise and unhindered self report. It is from this which one gains strength, by which are all virtues bred. And thank foresight thus, that my chance for recess was not squandered, for in one deranged interim from a knot have I slipped and made through the fence like a bandit won. Yet it need not have been so well-engineered, having found whom for I wagered to discover, all the while dwelling in the privacy of honest council, and I am eager with that mans clarity to see in a short while, and in the very nick of all the while too, my longed for Patagonia.

Nelson, New Zealand 2013

Nelson, New Zealand 2013


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