Danny James

Tag: Chile

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

135: Informed, adapt

On this first day of regular training since returning from abroad, has my poor body confessed the reach of fatigues ascendency; much lighter, and feeling weaker in every regard; an overall poorer case than I have been for some length, for seem all qualities diminished of their former vigour. Sleep has been troubled; steps are lead and my appetite low: I fear I may have incurred a protective reduced rate of metabolic processes. But, fear? What fear at this? The physic is in alarm, and but doing the work of preservation, that I have been rough with the vessel and largely unable of supporting to the best its holy business. Think to be thankful of it, that without thought, parts adjusts to aid though regrettable the direness that initiates thus. In truth, a recess was necessary from training rigours. Prior to the excursion, I had toiled intelligently for many months and relished the reaping, with a cool detachment from the outcomes, and taking a sincere and quiescent pleasure in the process. It was the perfect cognitive position for incubating change and growth, conformable to the more Natural but rarely ventured for crests and corners of human possibility. I thereby attained for this recreative assertion, if I may say with stiffened modesty, perhaps the deepest set and highest level of strength and conditioning than I have ever before enjoyed.
And this transferred well, with small spillover of polished improvement, to many other sides of the health prism: enhanced clarity of thought; temperance of emotional impulse; endurance, indifference, and an ever sustained stratum of high preparedness. To my very soul I felt a winged Olympian, well fed and strong and above all, with a directing mind bent to the wider affairs beyond the corporeal. It is hard to imagine that efficacy now, but it is not unraisable again.

Peppering of remorseful vanity this while threatened, by risking over clearness of reason to indulge the murky sympathies. Where is your self compassion now? Have you forgotten your earlier steel lamenting that which is not lost but merely away, and within your power to draw close again? Are you not more? Fair, you could not expect such intensity of bodily toll for fending so coarsely; sleeping as near to the earth and unguarded against the wildest moods of the elements; climbing and trekking entire daytimes short on food. To maintain here an elevated degree of fitness, such as thrives unindicted at home? No. Besides, what use of it? Indeed as earlier remembered, its development is an end in itself, and one aspect for that. If the Nature of our exercise must be appropriate to a predicted environment, then were not these volatile wildernesses such a court, for a trashing argument of your readiness? Was this also not an opportunity for expression of your designs resiliency? Did you have fun?

You do give up portions when you take to such trails, as having thee, the wilds too, yield its own. That is the health; informed, adapt. To assemble for, and receive all things and events; know them for what they are, and act accordingly; with acceptance and stability. All of life sure is a preparing, and some personal new knowledge has throughout been gained I am confident after all; others views have straight been replaced, and been risen by displacement have other tides within the human compartments. Chiefly important withal, have I found something residing there always in charge amid the changes… lividly individual, refusing, observing. Something quite indomitable.

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, majority of which glaringly 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; for reason to metabolize the information and form the proper judgements, so the soul can transcend its lamentations, and find again its peace.

The Happy House Hostel, Santiago Chile, 2013

The Happy House Hostel, Santiago Chile, 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.