21 March 2011

An Attempt at Describing the Undescribable

Torres del Paine was a life-changer. A game-changer. A soul-changer. The pictures by no means do it any justice because the feeling of the place was the most important. i want to try to capture it in verse, since nothing else seems sufficient. 

Awakened by rain and wind 
Lashing my window
Drawing stripes on the roof
Patagonia draws first blood

I am not afraid of wind nor rain
My boots are sturdy 
My body, too
Gore-tex is my best friend
And long underwear? 
The greatest invention known to humankind
Bring it, Patagonia

A natural cathedral 
Gouged by melting glaciers 
Ringed by twisted ancient trees
An aboreadom temple to perservence
And toughness
Even lichins display their ripe colors
Competing for dominance over the arching rainbow
Dancing in the clouds

A pilgrimage on bumpy roads
The nausea barely staved off 
By crunchy donuts and nescafe
Each new microclimate
Brings a new variety of cold
Or wind
Or sun
Or rain
We change our clothes 
We change our faces

The light begins to crystallize
In rainbows
Dancing in clouds around sharp points
Blue granite and blue ice
Sharper than immense knives

11:30 AM, 19 March 2011: I pass as Chilena for the first time.
A woolen cap pulled over my obviously not Chilean hair
The massif is hidden
Microcosms pass
A gray lake filled from Glacier Gray
The sediment of ten thousand years of grating on the mountain 
Reflecting the nublado sky

Our time is not here
Nor is our space
The mountains live in another
Geological and cosmic time are massive
Drawfing us puny
Humans are 50,000 years old
Maybe more

These mountains deal in eons, not in days

Winds race down the cliffs and glaciers 
To try to knock us off our feet
Carrying spray 
Green and heavy with it's ancient load
Into our eyes
Constant, instant change
The sun might flash 
A momentary glare
The clouds might move
And obscure or reveal

Nothing is forever in Patagonia. 

A lunch
Seems strange
I could live on the view
For at least a day
And never move from a single spot 
Letting Torres del Paine change around me
Our puny stomachs filled, the pilgrimage continues. 

Not even hidden
Appears in the mist
To an impossible climb
Thousands of feet in the making
We could never make it
The wind would peel us off the face
And smash us against the jagged rocks

First one out
Last one back 
Not enough time to spend here in the park
Visto? Visto?
I have seen nearly nothing
Of the magic of this place
And still rainbows follow us everywhere
Wide and wild

Windburned, hungry
Vacillating between too cold and too hot
We pass through more microcosms
And leave the landscape massif
To drift through plains and horses and forests
To a wild sunset over the blue/white mountains
As if heaven were only an arm's length away

But in my soul I feel the stillness of Paine
And to it I will always flee
A secret well of joy
And peace
And comfort in the unearthly beauty 
Of that Tierra

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