2 September 2008

Letter 3.22

(Fragments from a Mexican Diary – Hūm)

November '75 -- El Llano

Dumped bike twice today. Popping out of gear. Clutch-plate or what? Once it just slowly came to a stop and tipped over. Don't know why I can't handle it. Overloaded, overtired, maybe.

Pass commemorative monument at 28th parallel (commemorating, apparently, the 28th parallel). Without a doubt the ugliest monument I have ever seen; all angular, ending nowhere, and making no sense at all, like a staircase without a house.

Crest a hill to feast eyes on Gulf of California: fantastic. Descending to sea level: birds of prey, some hovering motionless, barely moving their wingtips, others by the side of road lunching on some creatures that didn't look both ways before crossing the road. Wayside chapels, two feet high adobe with crosses and fading wreaths. All Hallow's Day the wreaths put out. Forest of stately tall green cactus; beyond them clean beaches, white frothy surf, pale green waters of a lagoon, the deep dark waters of the gulf, white-capped. Some miles out a large island, barren red-brown, sharp jagged mountains jutting out with grey-white cliffs; a little village barely visible nestled in a cove of the island; and in the far far distance vague shadowy shapes of mainland Mexico.

Camp near the sea in the shade of a date palm grove; only natural sounds, no human signs. Lovely, lonely beach: volcanic stones, colored shells, fish skeletons. Desert cacti meeting pure sea and sparkling lagoons.

Pass a monster on the road -- it was going maybe 40 MPH, probably as fast as it could go: a half-ton truck with a big camper on it pulling a long trailer with a large boat on top of it and two trail bikes mounted to the front of the truck. Guy must have every toy going. Reminds me of someone who goes through a cafeteria line and takes one of everything there is, until his tray is so piled up he can hardly walk without spilling things. Monster passes me as I siesta. Later on a steep downgrade I see a truck missed a sharp turn and went over the side into the bay of La Paz. The toy truck?

Under the stars, power failure: I was watching the lights reflected on the ocean, when they all went out (except the stars of course) -- when that happened it reminded me of the solitude and peace of Godawaya, in Ceylon.

Morning: bit to hell by something, maybe everything -- notice lumpy spots in my arms smaller: competition? a case of self-arrest?

A glimpse of the future: had a flash, while working on Getting Off that its completion will require me to live up to its viewpoint by taking the robe again. There are several layers of irony in this fact, which makes it seem both extravagant and compelling.

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