Danny James

Tag: journey

508: Space

How long you have denied the mind it’s quiet and the skin it’s thrill. The gentle heart, enthralled and contained, the space to replevin and elate.

483

And still there is so much of this world to see, to feel and to experience. To move on from and forget, to make room too for the unknowable and not be hindered by memory.

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

299: Entry point

A gentle wind reminds the heart of its wings, and by degrees draws an idle travellers musings again to contemplate the horizon.

270

Of all the things you could see yourself becoming in life, has never any enthralled you so thoroughly as the idea of being an adventurer. With your all toward yonder fringe of Earth, – sustenance has always been in the going, and it never matters where.

115: Gone

Abaft a brooding climb, finally we mount the firmament, which suspends our dot with an affable keep and steadies our careen down the Tasman, settling ahead the finest conditions for flight have I ever encountered. The ocean and upper-wide parapet are an indivisible frontier of immaculate cobalt, that, were it not for one vivid and far-flung ivory thread, all ships and birds would negotiate the same strange territory (1).

By what I estimate to be journeys middle, and gladly redeemed of concern for accuracy in my projection of this days age, – the Sky and Earths bound is clear and imminent now. A rolling tumult of ashen brumal vapours pour in below, and delineates our vessels place in this wide realm between the vast under and above, and through effortlessly we soar.

Confirmed for 12:33pm – how I hadn’t asked.

Descending beneath the shroud in approach of our station, manifest appears the ample sea again, nearer than before that every ripple and indentation by Nature’s heavenly waft inscribed, – her living moving signature, from this vantage an exquisite precision of pixelation no man of this globe in all his possible ingenuity has mastered. The rough nooks and tiny tidemarks, the mere thousand-fold details in this bedlam are exactly shaped and even-spaced, such as imply a smoothness overall. Pulling this pattern from the particulars, becomes everything clear and thorough. The Suns showering grace is by mist-cover waned of its full majestic and small breakthroughs herald the clamour, like faded fog lights searching lone and in vain and though unable to break the sea bed, on what surface the couriers of light crash, spill carriage of gorgeous jewels (2). How a clear sky would bedazzle the eyes with visions of fantastic wealth. But this is not the domain of Earths golden orb, this is Aotearoa – ‘land of the long white cloud.’

I am four pages abused and not grounded yet. My thoughts are soaring, whirling heretic fireflies, and flailing I mean to jar every one of them, pale and ablaze just the same. Jotting down all apprehensions as they occur, however incomplete and nonsensical, faster than can reasons dust settle, clean of inauthenticity grown from some tainted soil in me fed by cheap incentives raining. Simplicity and immediacy is key, and tends portray the wisest outcome. For death is at hand, drawing every instant closer my heels, and long while I am writing is breath, no matter the kind or power. Some rather are astonished gasps, others a cough or wheezing any one aspect of the respiratory collective can induce by a moments perfunctory slip. O give me clean air, that I may expel my fumes and make parity with being.

The sun would have fallen on my musing, stepping down after the oceans brook from its lofty seat, had I not steered my look out again. Shoals and inlets increase, then I am unsure of the proper terms for these quiet natural developments, when I can name and navigate man-constructed bayous and disorderly boulevards without relation or concern. Methinks, for too long I have made my home in the city, and try soon enough to rectify this once and forever.
The border lands over where we enter are not the same as those from which we departed, nor as before that I remember them. Auckland’s edges are a rounded and boldly primordial to strength and apparently among the last by men breached, where the frayed and rampant outline of Sydney’s shredded shores resemble by comparison, an ever-polished town wincing free and kicked adrift of its despised histories evidence. It is little wonder to me, having exchanged considerable time in both whether similar aspects can be observed in a place as those of its inhabitants, or not.

Evening – close enough to schedule am shown to the hostel every bit the same as recollections depicted, I am not reported several minutes but to leave my belongings and wring what daylight remains, strolling this memorable hillside hamlet, for six years to my longing attached. I held to the outskirts, clear of the city centre which, however charming held no interest or value to me, preferring to have instead the smoke and pine layered slopes in the far prominence inside seeings ambit. I am struck with how startled I am by luxury of sky. Notwithstanding its permanence, Nelson’s corner thereof can occupy the greater share in ones field of vision unimpeded, and such grandeur displayed is always great source of immaterial tonicity to me. How little of all the first time I appreciated, that extends now a most genial invitation, to relish in qualities attractive to wise enjoyments pursuit. Gladdened withal, for where I have been, that so much the more is before me now.

When at last, a generations amount of study in one day exhausts the eyelids duties, I retire to the household that will be for five nights hereafter my home. – And it seems, that like the last time I was on the road, between some other drab and increasingly short interval of regular living, I am most awakened and secure now, falling once more into that place from which I shall never want to leave.

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101: The pavement

They spread themselves o’er the sun-gladdened pavement consoled for the rare effect, and how nice, I thought, to be unstifled of anything at all, and mightily wished would it last that all my souls journeys or recesses were so unshod as my weary soles presently. Perhaps, but for the binding, no soothing completes, or prevails relief. That some constraint is significant if we are to appreciate consent of our wild hearts release, and enjoy a true and profound liberty. It occurred to me then, turning my absorptions above the boulevard, to what little sky remains unobscured; past those glass peaks that cloak the day under shade and thwart nights embrace with synthetic stars: long how it has been since my toes have at all felt a gentle meadows kiss, or a cold streams truth, that being detained have I succumbed to concretes treason. Have we too hardened become, unfeeling like to the bitumen?

99: To build a galaxy

Thou patient, vital Atom. Upon soft gravity’s lull mayst thou happen at last, upon another particle of the same ruptured star.