Danny James

Tag: Amy

448: Patagonia part 12

You’ll know. When you don’t notice the sunsets behind Her.

Danny James blog in Patagonia

434: Patagonia part 10 (asleep)

You are going to need experiences that startle you. Places that stand you astounded and silent, utterly captivated by all the beauty you never knew were possible until you saw it in that moment. Where the skies are a crisp cold blue like you’ve never felt, and below, the quieted souls of this worlds truant to the hills are drawn for their repairs. People, infrequent as meteorites that light up your night and awaken in you something deep and slumbering that cannot again find favour in rest. They change you so remarkably irrevocably, haunting you forever after, that you begin to prefer to plateau and reminisce on them, than carry on without. You’ll never again catch sight of a flame in the sky quite like it no matter the much you look. You’ll never again be dressed in her sunshine glance.

You are going to again need those long roads going nowhere, into the Arctic domain of some twisted and towering mountain range you only seem to approach or pass and never arrive at. A long enough break amid the wilds to remind you how in vain are all our plans and worries the while.

Danny James in PAtagonia

Somewhere in Patagonia, with Her 2013/2014.

Somewhere in Patagonia, 2013-2014.

406: Breathe this air

Now and then, you will look up suddenly from a task and being acutely aware of a benign agitation you have paid little notice of, you’ll straighten. By some prompting of curious immediacy you’ll crawl out from the heap you’ve taken upon your shoulders and step outside of the blur of passing moments to try to place an undistracted light on what signal is attempting to reach you amid your madness. Whatever small struggle persisting that somehow has remained undiscovered all this while. You will begin reaching back and wading through your collection of thoughts and memories looking for something that seems increasingly meaningful and imperative to the life that you’ve begun to slumber through. Like a treasure you’ve buried and will come back for someday, and somehow someday becomes almost a lifetime. When the day finally arrives that you begin digging and wondering what has happened to wonderment all these years, your curiosity escalates into an increasingly desperate fumbling in the darkness groping at you know not what, as though you cannot find your gold in the dirt anymore or fathom how you were compelled to bury something so important in the first place. Then suddenly, the bud unfolds and discloses its beauty; a knot unties and the design emerges as always, that appeared at first glance but convergence of happenstance and confusion. How remarkable that you are still surpassed by anything in this world and mostly your own actions. As usual all the questions and torments stop and dissolve, all thoroughfares eventually append at Her image. Thee, without whom seems all but a thread of same days.

It’s not that you’ve forgotten because you never have and never could, how to survive. It’s that you now choose to live like it was all there was and could be, and as though you’ve spent what was worth spending and will now go on never attempting to make your life an exhaustless string of wonderful and contrasting experiences such as make living what it is.

Life goes on living anyway, so go with it then. Else what?

395: Patagonia part 7 (thaw)

After some time abroad, being suddenly home again endures a spectacular dilation. It’s like the sight of the first visiting snowflakes, the falling fascinates like none after. The plain and recognisable circumstances glisten afresh with seemingly new and engaging qualities as everything slowly drifts back into its usual recognisable place, settling into a blanket of familiarity. Before long the rain of pleasantries will again begin to irritate and you’ll tell yourself at first that you just need to change something in your thinking this time, adjust the old lens through which you look at things. You understand that you’re not altogether wrong, because the larger share of life will be used up on tedium tasks and the routine actions and engagements necessary for simply existing, much less for making fair and civil progress in this world. You’ve been too long between living and missed some wonderful experiences and insights that might have helped, because you’ve been busy trying to wedge into your life some of the lessons you took from the last time you got it right the third time and you’ve been making up ground ever since, but still; nothing prevails quite like the emptiness of a life layed out in full and supposed before it’s even commenced it and worse, without having the faintest idea of how so much hope lies in the available choices, and thus pressing on and completely void of interment spells of spontaneous adventure and surprise and everyday a bare and unsatisfying effort. Contained and under stimulated and barely perceptible tones of activity compressed to a humming ineffectual lull, until reanimation of your blood and return of your wildest strength and happiness as returns by such a trip as enjoyed to the Patagonia’s. It is deeply vivifying, and renewing of what unnameable qualities stand spellbound and silent amid the rain of sensation and fresh, un-dreamable experiences that elevate us brimming into a modest Euphoria. But lean they must, in pitch and power. So as to maintain and not drain the host in a constant feed of enthusiasm and to fit the pressed halls of perception and memory. The effect of where you have been is noticeable, uplifting and even tiring, and like many things that saturate no matter how incredible the stimuli, temporal. What you’ve noticed most, is how simple convenience stores now bear an intimation; Entering them initiates an automative study of the shelves for border-easy dry goods, computing the comparative cost of bottled water. Coffee, any kind, to quicken the senses waned from an all night drive, when some small yawning section of your being quietly revels at the start in the middle of the night, and promise of that first breath of new evening air. The excitement stepping off the bus and out into the cold, your faculties quite unprepared for the chill, but riveted and inviting of any commotions. The newness of a new gas station with friends who share your lost and delighting meagreness. The smell, the buzz, blinding lights, coke cola signs and the curious glares. A pause in the middle of a somewhere, an interval and a never-ending getting by; it’s the same in rest-stops the world over. They hold mostly only the barest necessities of respite and refuelling with the same isles and arrangements as any and lie at the end of the same dirt road of an outskirt and in them still we are gladly lost. That is the travellers lesson. You understand the various and similar constants of human need. Interaction and communication and everyone once in a while a blessed intermission from going someplace to rediscover your own simple humanness. You would not have known this had you not needed to go to see for yourself, and we all need to figure out this Labyrinth on our own and when you do, you finally realise that we don’t much do different things as much as do the same things a little differently. It mustn’t be forgotten, amid the circling fear that you will step back into the same old exhausted habits of constructing a mechanical existence that only forges forward and does nothing to lateralise with the view. That fails to stir the emotions or rouse the sanctified instincts of your fantastical bearing awakened by sunsets, open roads, friends by the fireside in cold mountain valleys and her eyes the first time you caught a glimpse of love in them. When Amy had looked through you and into some sad future that she knew was coming, and achingly, tenderly desperate said something so incredibly touching, as though if it were then surely her last act on Earth it was the only one that mattered and it had to be said. Amy was wonderful like that, but you did not hear it. You’d never hear it, and the look on her face after was ample to cause the world to halt, the bars over your heart to dissipate and the very centre to fold in upon itself, overcome. Amy, knowing her sweetest truth had missed its mark and went drifting off searching into the infinitude from which it came said nothing more but smiled gently and dipped her little head upon your shoulder, closed her misty eyes and fell softly to sleep. You have not failed since to remember that golden moment, it outshines any have you ever had. Though it has been the cause of a recurring and cataclysmic grievance ever since, that you could have no whit of recollection or imagination of exactly what it was that Amy had gathered up all of her resources of courage to say, the shadows and suppositions of which as it escaped and evaporated were enough to profoundly and instantly redirect the emotional course that you would choose to take in life. You were simply absent then. A spectator of your own life than rather the participant, and you find yourself now attempting to recall the many preceding miracles mistook for everyday occurrences that are fewer now, and paler that you are looking for them. As is the afternoon sun of our time compared to its morning heat, the best is always done. You have slept too long, that waking now none too late, the Sun has begun to set. Staring out of the window at everything that’s new and will never your eyes see or your bare skin feel the brushing of again in this lifetime. Gazing at a vastness of land between all the places never adventured, stretching for miles and miles still. There could be layers of new experiences yet, – the overcast of old memories with more blankets to come of snow. Her eyes, as your own close.

Somewhere in Patagonia, 2013-2014

Somewhere in Patagonia, 2013-2014

391: Patagonia part 6

I’d not have noticed were it not for Amy calling from the back of the bus, as though we were the only passengers and it wasn’t as late as it was – how the moon was following us along our way, dancing atop of the Andes in the night with no care for what might think the stars of its escapades, that long calm ride out of blissful nowhere and into the future. Or that I could enjoy the company of softness unabashed leaning in to conversation and my soul immediately like we’d known each other forever and little by little, falling and willing, I’ve never known Christmas mornings quite as wonderful as that descent. Such wanton curiosity and tender openness after a few hours acquaintance, within which time our lives had been searched and laid bare for discovering, and it’d been decided as I stared past her doting and into the night at the leaping moon coming to my conclusions only then and feeling every blink of her eyes; that I was her angel, and she really believed it to be so, in the most honestly reflected way with all of her uninhibited heart. And although falling went opposed to everything strong I’d ever known and put up, I knew then at last; that my purpose after all was simply to love with all that I had.

Somewhere in Chile, 2013

Somewhere in Chile, 2013

309: Patagonia part 4

No matter now in what city I find myself, when a cold wind is such that it penetrates to the marrow, and scatters the rain into a melee of fine mist-fall visible under a street light, I can’t help but peering up at the brume be lulled smiling into memories den; down the burning corridors of the years winding and strange with yet an air of curiously warm familiarity, as an about-face that points you home after a spell adrift in the world gathering the lessons you needed to have. And I go on though wearily, knowing, towards what light I can see where glowing sits my arrival awaiting, that there is nothing expected of me there and something benign, inviting as a cabin wood-fire, easing as the welcome of a dear friend whose love by absence appreciates to a quality such as decades could not overthrow; images past of cold shining skies and golden smiles that with one look breaches the cocoon that since entombed the heart and with an alchemy of dazzling joviality encircles it. Activation! Roots are agitated. A network, from its periphery to the core engages with a dusty preparatory hum. The spaces flood with a gladdening anaesthesia and that good hibernating heart looking out with puzzled alarm, realising liberty is confirmed and at hand sighs at last a long-smothered rejoicing. The mind out of the static isolates a decibel of laughter saved, the eyes glaze a recollection. A spark catches! Sensitivity swells again, surging an affection spent. Sharp and vivid pictures of captivating scenes and painfully poignant encounters with adorable people, all hauntingly mislaid and lost to the din of fumbling busyness, come rushing now back to me but in fragments of delightfulness burgeoning, and flashes of forgotten insight like a flickering of sunlight through the dusky woods in Autumn. A story emerges out of the stuttering. A frayed slide show of a life lived so far. And it’s a glorious thing being alive and young. Perhaps more so to have been young, when you can finally figure what gift you had, and what you have now. Nature is aware the astounding splendour is, all at once too unbearable and so unfurls it she carefully, so as not to sink the senses unprepared into that seductive lower-most layer of liquid reverie from which the traveller there absorbed might not recover. With the heaping of irreplaceable love and impassable loss revisited, falling resembles flying and visa versa, and tardily will follow the relief that ever the things that took, shook you, and changed you so profoundly even happened at all, and slow to ripen is the emotional stability to stand it. These are the very things that being young, both marvellous and more difficult make: Risk without reservation, for the years ahead are many that you have to get over anything, and the soul here stands at a greater hazard by its own fearing. You leapt more. Antagonized the dangers and considered less the consequences of an etherial trusting of greater things. Divine and battered, by god, by Nature, by whatever you lived! Forget me not.
Once in a lifetime friendships made in an instant and achingly touching moments that tattoo the heart and can never last. Soaring highs and crushing lows, such as you will never entirely overcome, and so you find the percepts a place of safe-keeping for the days when strength is enough. Or you will be twenty or thirty years from here standing in a room wondering why you came there because by some skip in the consciousness, your automation of thought had broken up and you forgot your reasons. Your staring out of the window now, groping in the vacancy trying to place your steps, all of them up to this point, beginning at the last time you were surprised like that, though you’ve woken with a start it seems each morning ever since. Somewhere on the other side of a deep fog where lost things dwell, and scattered like a whisper on the wind, a cry paled at a divide, faint as an angles feather falling on a cloud; an echo of a ghost trying to reach you through the noise. What to do? There is the panic and pandemonium of a siren wailing but you don’t hear a sound. And at nexus of halls are you compelled, drawn like a canary down a hole, down a passage unlit, scared and helpless, in which appears at the far off nethermost middle, at a mere bend perchance in a Labyrinthine weave of memories, a frantic, pleading, limping dot, that recedes the more with your apprehension to approach. You are afraid of course, of what might reflection find, until above all pervades a sudden understanding of a broad and foreboding necessity to resuscitate this failing glimmer in the randomness, the trying pulse of some gravely important and completed sensory brush grasped by the psyche and secured away to the recesses on purpose. Your guardians last attempt.
Just as your daring rises to plenitude and looks your Goliath surmountable, you are about to lunge into the abyss of its jaws when suddenly there is a noiseless flash you can’t compute that engulfs the entire in a white wave, and in the next second your blinking up at a sun so bright and tranquillising as will appear in a dream, and it is the most breathtaking and magnificent vision of effulgence you have ever seen. You swim in the daze and drench of satisfying light beaming out over a glacial wall so mammoth and crystal-blue that can’t the eyes read a cease of its largess, nor the mind fathom a more beguiling allure. All tension melts away in that swoon, all regard for time and presence softly detaches and disperses, for here you are amid the ongoing and unbelievable that is Patagonia. It locks you up in a silence and furious bewilderment. Your smallness and responsibility moves you to tears as well a feeling of overwhelming gratefulness that you and all your disgraces should have happened upon this hallowed place in this coming together of moments perfect, and are not at all dispossessed but essential. While gazing out over the spires of those gargantuan curtains of ice, vast uninhabitable meadows of snow and water suspended, frozen in a pause for all time, glistening in the sun like dunes of diamonds and glass, in your periphery Amy is watching your watch. Smiling with a forlorn tenderness and uttering nothing because cometh the hour you’ll be too soon and forever separated in the world, she would later confess in a letter not sent. You offer no response or acknowledgement of her pensive and doting intrigue but look right on ahead, deeper into anything else as though you didn’t notice and know exactly where you’re headed but you do not, and you are just as adrift as anyone though increasingly here you are warming to the fact if by cruel expense. You don’t know why you did that, but maybe you needed to focus on yourself for a change, than rather what somebody else was focusing in on, about you. Just now a cold snap for which the faculties were not braced whips at your skin and threads the ribs. Fibres twitch involuntarily and immediately are you seized by your own constricting humanness. A glaze of frost is thrust over your nerves sending a biting shudder through your being like the cold steel of blade pushed into the chest; an ominous déjà vu which you have endured with a fright at intervals now and then for centuries. So now you look.

And kneeling there in the dark by the failing embers with a curious wondering piecing together the shards of recaptured frames of my sweet Patagonian experience can I enjoy the adventure again. All the thrills of moment-to-moment living where the weeks become fortified in legend, with all the significant constellations and heroism of a lifetime thoroughly lived. From being born erratic through the journey of ‘unheavening’ right up to a dispersal composed and sublime, enhanced and hemmed into 23 days like an eon in a snow dome. A solar system within a marble sitting on the ocean floor rolling with the beckon of an undertow. As well there were exams that revealed him, who I was most proud to have become that I had until then not discovered the amounting to were at all possible. To reminded be that still he is not done, nor to be restrained any more in luxury, and too of a time in my life that I think shall ever unsurpassed remain as the very best that I had lived.
When, however cutting and inclement, and no place more so than exists I’m sure, there was always close at hand the warm heart of a friend who two weeks before, you never knew or cared to know existed. Who would offer their only jacket because yours was an inappropriate match for such climates, all the while reminding the group with a stuttered yet indomitable cheer as we traversed terrain and conditions could no supposition have equaled, that somebody else whose birth place or last name you can’t recall had rushed on against the gales to prepare a fire and raise our tents before supper and storm.

Those rare and special people you’ll find dotted across the globe in corners hidden and places hard, like flowers in a cave. Where scarcely known are the comforts that fatigue and drive us further from ourselves and from one another. These very much-mattering, endearing acts of unhesitating consideration you can come to expect on the road from strangers who would rather be family. And as much as I’ve wandered from shore to shore, through valleys low and stark not within lights reach where prevails still a most fascinatingly and animated little civilisation you’ll not find anywhere else that one dare not profane to long step there, – and there’s such a place for us all; among grand and agleam peaks of powerful majesty weeping into lakes of the purest blue that arrest the tiny looker into a sudden compulsion for silent propriety: More than any mountain, the human phenomena of immediate unreproach and dependable tenderness never ceases to fire me to new incentives for compassion and service, always bringing me home a better man, and upon me after the hardest days, bestowing a far better rest than I could have hoped for. To see it, be touched, punctured and set loose by it is a wrath of pleasantness intensely I pray for and to what I know not. Perhaps to the Cosmos which inform with its patterns of seeming disarray and yet precision of order and celestial fairness. If it can pull planets, kill stars and toss fire like missiles across an infinity and still find occasion to mystify us with a drifters faith and the honest goodness of foreign folk, music, love, drunken sunrise pacts with new friends and pretty smiles in passing, surely can it inspire us to consider less ourselves as a disconnected self and more as a part of an order serene, that we may then tirelessly to the work of prospering an entire people to a standard of aversion to such separateness, and encourage by bitter example the kind of society we would all admire, and for which would one tilt to all the winds and blades of a thousand Siberian assaults for. Finding in our unity, a strength not stirred without, we can exhilarate that which sorely requires the present wide world through which we stumble: that is, dissolution of that indifference, that, until recently I had championed for too long and thought to be a trait of the strong, which I know now of course to be untrue.

Passing through the tunnel of a curative meditation are you restored. A buoyancy finds again the space beneath your feet, careening within and through you. Things are far gentler than you imagined. There is breadth at last, for all the things that you would feel, and the few things of which reason guides you need think. It is not as much a vacation as we need so much as an hour quiet and sincere with the soul, where your work will become known to you, to be taken up in earnest for all the days of your glorious tenure until it descends upon you to sleep and take your leave.

Danny James blog Patagonia 4 pics

Danny James blog Patagonia 4 pic 2

217: Patagonia part 3 (Amy, somewhere)

Strange it now seems that it bothered me how she would always dawdle behind while there was so much to see, and I’d never notice at the time that she was happy enough just watching me. Heading toward wherever I was, to end a searching in my arms that were never open.

I recall with fondness her poise and determined gait, and private strength of wherewithal that sometimes did take leave of its throne and put to helm a smile acting with not falsehood enough to cover over the deeper melancholy in her world, but a smile anyway. Amy disliked her pronounced calves and yet wore tights, no matter how thoroughly the Patagonian gusts would blow and yet often complained hilariously indignantly and unnecessarily of observed human errors of judgement and the like, long after the affray upon her dignity subsided and the offender, stooped and cloaking his villainy with shame had departed, sullen and regret addled. Amy’s relentlessness was tiring, to many if not all of them, but not to me. And often while they leered at her would I leer at them, more perplexed about them than disliking, for at last here was a little storm of transparency rare as the breathtaking within her berating into correctness or exhaustion a person failing, – that ushers away sun-shower pretensions with her brooding cloudburst veracity.

And I liked her calves too, looking furtively on their contours and contractions during the conquering of an incline. I said as much though little more, and it still seemed to matter immensely. I liked them best when ahead of me they brushed through grass and brambles on a hill-side meadow saturated by cold, dying daylight one December afternoon in some place, the name of which I can’t recall and made no effort to remember, by a highway remote in South America. You get tired of making plans and keeping notes. Abiding schedules and hitching your time and cares to duty and a whereabouts. We just walked, talked nonsense for once and wondered what were in the ovens of all the homes that blinked across the plains under perhaps the most magnificent dispersal of dusk cloud, the likes of which had never the skies before bestowed upon us we awed, in the end resigning to the fact that it was no different from any other as much as we were here with new eyes. Bursting apart with our pent-up hopes and anxieties, like the first Spring flowers through melting snow. Sometimes Amy would quietly look away and slump into a sigh that halted the planets in their cycles and cast suddenly over the hissing prairies of my heart a shadow crawling. Then, she would look back over her shoulder with a smile that betrayed an arrived at relief I knew only too well, and immediately a solitary lance of light shot out across the slopes from a source unknown yet knowing all. The Earth and all things resumed their movements and I could breathe again at ease, that all is indeed well, if she is well.
We were happy here with each other just as incomplete as ever, hidden in an interval of our lives and free to entertain the ecstasies of our wildest wonderings. I’m willing to wager, being years from these events that you will not have known a happiness like waking up face down on your cold tent floor without an air-mat, and with no shirt on in near-zero temperatures, with her cheek on your shoulder-blade and fingers clutching your lat because she loves your back even in her sleep, and her warm flesh against yours is keeping the world holy though she has three-fourths of the tent and all the sleep sack. You can hear the morning campfire and some of the group is awake and huddled around staring. The smell of instant coffee is utterly arresting and who knows what’s for breakfast or when it doesn’t matter. For a moment you forgot to remember that you can’t bear the thought of going home again, to describe so desperately these things that severely matter with people to whom they do not. It doesn’t even cross your mind that one day we would all be gone and that for many years before, we would all be looking back on these days from our separate and lonely corners of the world with a sad impossible longing to hold them all again and do absolutely nothing differently. You are too busy trying to recollect what it was that you were both laughing about so fervently before you fell asleep in each other’s arms with nothing and nowhere to be in the morning.

Somewhere in Patagonia, December 2013

Somewhere in Patagonia, December 2013