Chapter Eleven

Like a bullet we shot through eight time zone; shifted across separating tectonic plates. Hovering in an endless warp we hurled past the mid Atlantic ridge and dipped down into a city across the vast stretch of ocean. All that water. It poured through my veins while we sailed above it, perverting gravity. In the warp I was centered yet irrevocably trapped inside a compressed vestibule. It was a blended mixture of all the elements of my life. Yet it didn’t blend. It was chopped and polluted. It gnarled the insides like fermented sourdough. Above the clouds, above the water, sailing through the icy air.

We landed in the city of hoaxed divinity. The Earth never felt so hard, pressed down by gravity and the pressure of our burdened back. Yet the lightness of the unfamiliar cast a new threshold for us to conquer. There were new rivers to follow. New oceans and seas to project our perimeter. New lakes, hot springs, streams and pools. A new playground opened up for us and we thrust ourselves into the middle of it. To open our eyes a bit wider, to challenge our perspective, to embrace what we do not understand.

We are children again starting our first week of school. Not knowing who our friends are, if and what could be of enemies, how to get along. All we knew was each other, love and joy. All we understood was the excitement of learning. Others stared, watched endlessly as we wiped the crustaceans from our newly opened eyes.

We followed the rugged coastline along the Tyrrhenian, gawking at the awe inspiring Cinque Terre. Gazing out at the lapping waves my mind drifted to and fro, spinning lust and desire. Contemplating the crystal blue Gulf I had momentarily been peacefully trapped in meditation. Like a hound eyeing a toy under a couch I stared out of the fogging glass, hoping, peering out for a chunk of seaside equip for tent poles. Illegal thoughts in this political doldrum. We would have to settle our heads in the dog run, hidden under bridges, surrounded in glass and fireweed.

We hastily retreated to the mountain, to seek solace in the snow packed towering projection. Craning upward inside of a shadow that stretched across all the valley, we gazed up at the White Mountain. A spectacle immediately noticeable on any topographical map. What the Weminuche was to us, here rests its’ sister, descendant of the Swiss, French, and Italian. A family of plates separated by a pool of salty water. From their eyes we lay down below, scurrying like wilder beasts. The staggering, jagged peaks lay cloaked in bone white blankets. Thick icy blue glaciers clung to the side slopes of the highest, holding firm from ten thousand years. Their once frozen fingers extended down into the valleys, clutching tightly all the land. Slowly time brutally chopped its extremities, leaving behind liquified ravines, of which we now content our thirst, and use as means of pleasure and recreation. All life, all matter malleable by time.

Fractured ice over time made it possible for sustainable life in the region, just as it does in the San Juan high plateau. The most noticeable difference however is the impact of human change, attempting in disgrace to play the role of time; attempting alchemy. In the San Juan time will undoubtably bleed the hills dry. No glaciers have we, yet still the thirst of four states drinks the snow each passing season. A humbling sadness arose between the enchantment. Drifting in and out of the vortex between the then, the now, and the real now in degrees I felt significantly infinite. For now, in the real now, life meant but one thing, to constantly flow. And to flow means to reduce all thought about the past and present. To not obstruct the mind with uneducated prospects of the fourth dimension. To live within it, let it demonstrate unyielding. Gaze, look, admire, move on. Forever.

We followed the gray rushing whitewater rapidly down stream. It carried us along the L’Arve, meandered until it met up with Le Rhône and spit us out in the Gulf of Lyon. So quickly the water pushed us that we missed all its other tentacles and had to retrace our steps. In the dry, cold flats and badlands of the Spanish mainland we trudged upstream the Rio Ebro until we broke north toward the Southern Pyrenees. We only briefly paused on the Aragón before tumbling down the northern slopes into Le Gave de Pau for two nights. A minute stop on La Garonne and then round trip to Le Rhône.

We journeyed north. As north as we could manage on the iron rails. Days drifted by seamlessly in the opaque ceiling of winter cloud. Slightly trapped in an inevitable, perpetual exhaustion we droned moreover. Pauses, like a light burst from a camera lens, were fleeting. Endlessly in drift yet holding desperately onto the prospect of a natural phenomenon. Our love would take us to the Baltic, the Skagerrak, the North Sea, and then finally to the Norwegian Sea.

Chapter Twelve