December 28, 2005
Dear Friend,
I am flush with a day owned by Machu Picchu, the greatest thrill not the ruins but rather my being lost high behind them. Alone in that sacred place, a sacred serpent blocked my passage up worn and stony stairs. Next a hummingbird, also significant, and finding a wild strawberry - only one - and eating it, magic in my belly now and ancient minerals pumping through flesh and lung.
Hours later I return to Ruins proper, learning only from tour guides overhead that I had climbed the namesake peak. In assorted color plastic ponchos the tourists look like jellybeans. I run my hands along doorframes and stones but is the mountains, cloud and jungle that my mindís eye wanders still as my mindís ear listen to rain, and my skin still feels it.
Yesterday it was the Cuscoís hills, the density of streets lined by Incan walls. Everywhere there is the sound of breathing Ė your own, or someone elseís. Locals are not immune to thin air and steep inclines. And like being lost, there is the joy of a day spent speechlessly, or nearly so, but for one man I met and will remember.
I feel the earth humming. There are the grandest peaks I have ever seen and a vibration so authentic as to remind us there is no space nor time between any human beings. Yes we are apart you and I but at night I dream you, I join you or conjure you to my side. We sleep and walk together in this way and I take the world in, simultaneously imagining recounting it to you. I try to remember everything.
Tomorrow I will explore Lima. My trip has been so wonderful that I find myself awaiting some disaster, some punishment for the joy I have been experiencing. Of course, this thought is absurd, and I tell myself "I am good. Happiness does not require penalty." Still, I confess to you Friend that I am haunted and elated both, fully expecting the best and worst in coming days.
Happy new year. You are here.
December 29, 2005
Dear Friend,
My premonition has been realized. The news comes by telephone and the wonder of my room and this grand place is soaked now with sorry tears. I am trapped, longing for return but there is no sooner exit than midnight. I consider my surroundings and stuck as I am I seek to make something of this. I visit every cathedral in the city and there are many. I sob in pews beneath the pitying eyes of old women. In catacombs I touch the bones of human beings long dead. I touch the bones and tremble, trying to imagine the pain and then again trying not to. A kind man offers me a cigarette and I take it. Dogs shy away from me because they cannot be fooled. They are aware of what I carry.
Friend, the city is warm and ornate. I refuse to waste time. I refuse to believe sad news. I will fight it, I will fight with the strength of yesterday and the day before. I will fight with the strength that you give to me.
You are here, and I am grateful.
Your friend,