I’m standing still. Well, sitting now I guess. Perched really.

I’m perching now, still and silent. Perched on a moss covered log marbled with dancing lichen. The ground is soft, the air is fine. Its cold but the trees cling to their rich green leaves. Branches tease and touch each other in the leafy ceiling above. The stream a few feet away is giggling. I filled my borrowed tin cup in it just moments ago, dipped it into the water flowing by and took a sip. At first I wanted to chug the water, but it seemed much too rich. It seems to me that it would be like chugging a chocolate shake, something you want to take in slowly, tasting every slurp and sip. It’s a water too luscious to gulp up.  I’m sipping still, on that same cup of water. Drinking from a mug, perched on a log somewhere in the Patagonian backcountry.

We’ve hiked for four days now with two more to go. We’ve hiked forty-three miles with twenty-eight more to go. My feet are throbbing, yesterday’s blisters are likely bleeding again. My back is creaking, sore and weak it begs me not to pick up this god forsaken pack. I’ve eaten only snickers and avena for four days. The nights are a sharp, cruel cold and the mice have made swiss cheese of our tents base.

I know these things are irritating, irksome pains that would normally turn me into a vindictive ogre-girl, but none of it seems to bother me now. I know that all of me aches, but I can’t really feel the pain of it. I know that I am exhausted, but I can’t tell if I’m tired. Here now, perched on this log, I can’t seem to feel anything but the present wideness of the world. I can’t feel anything more than this present air, as it touches me differently than the air back home. Softer maybe, cleaner surely. All I can feel now are these colors, this jade moss and emerald grass. I can feel this brown-purple ground and these blue-red rocks. I can feel this scene, a crisp and welcoming orange, glowing with the sun’s warmth and sparkling with the earth’s chill.

I’ve never felt the present so wholly. Its me here feeling this hard, cold thing, heavy with it’s own scent and color and size. The trees tower over me like nothing before. Not like buildings looming above with faceless facades. Not like walls or cliffs or mountains. But almost like people, towering people. When their leaves clap it feels for a second like their laughing at my joke. Like feeling so small at a dinner party with brilliant and witty people then finally becoming a part of them when one lets out a chuckle at your shy remark. The trees like that, sitting in a forest of those I admire. They’re all something more than me, something more beautiful, kind, honest, patient. And they let me sit here and they let me feel like I can stay here, like I somehow match some part of them. Some bit of their being is the same as mine.

Have I gone mad? Feeling color and befriending trees?

Perhaps, was I mad before. Feeling marketing schemes and befriending twitter profiles. Perhaps I can’t quite compare anywhere else to here, right here right now: perching, sipping. Perhaps they’re too different of worlds to put one in the context of the other. Perhaps here you feel color and hear moss.

Still, I perch: me with an empty cup and bloody feet. It feels silly to say all this trying to tell you what I see, how I feel. There’s no sense in it, you’ll just picture trees. Pretty trees surely, but you won’t picture these trees: thick colorful trucks making sharp turns until the branches pull the tree apart above me, spreading like an albatross’ wings to make a stain glass ceiling. You’ll see something nice, but you won’t see this mosaic. It’s embarrassing actually to even try to describe this place, or any bit of earth’s nature. Its arrogant to think that mankind has come up with a vocabulary that can gather a pinch of what a smooth stone looks like. It’s silly to think I can tell you any part of what I see now.

The trouble is that I have to tell you. I can’t possibly look on and not try to bring you with me. Like the excitement and panic that you feel on your sprint to tell a best friend about your first kiss. Like the need to tell a lover you love them. Its some deep and persistent itch to tell you what I see here and try to make you know how unique and whole and real it feels.

That’s it really. That’s all I can say about what I see here in some Patagonian forest in April; its unique and whole and real. It’s too beautiful to ever belong to anything but too welcoming to not feel like its mine alone. Now perching, I feel it all around me. Blades of grass as ballerinas and buzzing bugs choreographed to accompany. I feel it all around me; the familiar strangeness of it, recognizing trees I’ve never seen before like old imaginary friends. All around me this vast living thing.  I feel it all around me now: the wild. I feel it in me now: the wild.


June 14

Leave a Reply