Wednesday, January 24, 2007

your name is the splinter inside me

hark I hear the harps eternal | ringing on the hollowed shore | as I hear the swollen waters | with their deep and solemn roar | hallelujah

there are many things that I wish I could record in my head, and replay later, on blank white walls, in three dimensional loops. bits and pieces. like the flashing by of quito in the night as the taxi driver stops, “bendita la luz” singing mournful in the background. waiting for the girls outside a little jazz club on la calle de Isabel, and watching a boy on a bicycle make his way through the city. the tingle of caiprina on my tongue. pictures of old presidents lining the walls of bathrooms overstuffed with art. hide and seek, Ecuadorian style.

we found the center of the universe! ok, not the center of the universe. el mitad del mundo. which IS the center of the world. world meaning earth. there are street dogs taking naps, and tienditas with leftist propaganda clinging to the walls, and even strings of laundry hanging in the sun. who knew the center of the world could be so like a pueblo?

to el pahuma, where the lima family resides. efrain, and rene, and susanna (a most wonderful cook). but the most adorable of all are stalin and javie. two little boys, nine and ten respectively, who know oh so much about everything in their montane orchid wilderness haven. stalin, while younger than javie, is most definitely more outgoing, coming on adventures with us [going through los yumbos, a quichua trail used for millennia by people traveling toward the coast from quito] and guiding the way. everyone loves him. it’s hard not to, of course, because he will grow up to save his country and its landscape.

a las cascadas! to look up, into the falling drops of a waterfall, as it tumbles over cliff sides, through drooping vegetation, towards the tierra, the andes, these mysterious magnificent mountains, is to watch time slow. vertical time is slower than regular time. have you ever noticed? looking up through the falling drops, they slow down…slow down, way down. as soon as you’re out from under, they come back to life speed; but so, so, so slow while you’re underneath. and you can catch each individual drop in your eyes as they fall. it reminds me of this summer under the river sun, high and dreaming of deeper things.

sticky sweet charades, vines, and the strangled strangler fig. RAIN. the smell of it is sinking into the earth, and falling all over our faces, our skins. being covered and fog, and as darkness descends, the night walk commences. walking stick contests. frogs. spiders. a spinx moth the size of my hand, who alights on my hip, and decides to stay for the rest of the hike.


what was that?

we are silent, sneaking, creeping.

a toucan? a shy, stealthy, spectacled bear?


bamboo in the nighttime looks like kelp in the sea. floating on currents, stillness, in the water which is actually only clouds come down to look for its lost light.

Plate Billed Mountain Toucan : Ramphastos laminirostris
Sangre de Drago: Croton magdalensis
Gorgeted Sunangel: Heliangelus strophianus

I love this. viscerally. breathing in this rainforest air, pressing my hands into the ground and soaking it in…

funneling pathways, down mudslicked slopes. we go to el pahuma (which, in quichua, means the flattened place). and it is, for the most part. mora, growing wild and purple on vines covered in prickles. hopefully they do not become hallucinogenic, because the pathway back could become treacherous under the influence of imagined things. to the lookout, where we can see down into the Andean valley, through the cordilleras, between a break in the clouds, before the fog rolls in once again. wanting to leap from the top, to fly across el piso del cielo [the floor of heaven] gliding along the surface, through all of those canopied trees.


ngo’s, and the formation of orchid reserves, and the politics of crazy things.

candalosa: puntas (Ecuadorian moonshine, made from sugarcane) + jugo de naranjilla + fire. warms your soul, from the pit of your stomache way up into your nose.

mountain toucan sitings in the early morning hours, before walking meditations along mountain sides, and through the frigid cold waters of the waterfalls of the quichua persuasion. humming birds. toasts made of pilsener (the beer of the Ecuadorians) to things like salud, and amor, and la vida. choclo. tostados. besos de ciao.

and thus it has begun.

eres mio, y soy tuyo.

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