A story about mountains and scrub and earth

Given that I had claimed I’d try to post once a week, I’ll conveniently post this very short story sort of thing that I started writing two years ago (curiously, also around late April) and left unfinished until a few days ago.

I lay down on the long not-quite-comfortable seat in the back of the vehicle, at the moment oblivious to the outside world. The air conditioner on, the increasingly arid light of the outside lighting the inside, my head uncomfortable on a pillow against the unyielding side of the van, three books lying somewhere on the seat as I try to fix the jumble of cables and make a final music pick. Most of the trip on the highway and into the Mexican mountains in the northeast of the country as the van drove south their range was spent reading fiction to the beat of music. I had the idea of overhearing the name of the place we were heading to, but it didn’t mean much to me. As we started to ascend through paths that circumvented hills as they climbed them and showed new hills springing at the other side and all around, I started to notice my awareness of the surroundings despite the plugs in my ears and eyes on the pages.

I looked out to the dark dry green and brown scrub resting among more of the same. Once inside the range, there were at any specific time some five hills or mountain peaks at sight, but never did I consider during the trip the number being left behind or the number that kept springing up. Otherwise, the view didn’t hold anything new. The same scrub and tree, soil and breeze that were present throughout this particular region I was getting used to. The transition was too gradual to notice, the pavement disappearing while the possibility of seldom solitary lives rummaging through stone, ground, and scrub bleakly permeated everything around. The thought of such lives failed to produce the conception of quiet and satisfying life in the woods, but too simply a conceivable collection of lonely quiet existences that coincide only by chance, hardly becoming a whole. The trees thin, extending branches as if trying to get some air in the suffocating heat and at the same time protect from the beating rays as most meager land as they could. Their leaves bore on dry green or yellow brown, a tinge of red; attempting foliage as if trying to conceal the rest, yet wearily content in their failure; waiting with each other as if all were one to the slipshod eye but each enduring their own existence. The ground rested beneath from yellow where uncovered to light brown dried out by famished roots which even while brittle kept permanently seeking through dusty rock; this ground lived thus just like the wall of the mountain, just like the hills around, just like the valley below.

Suddenly the drive round stony and intermittent scrubby walls—the constant leap from hill to hill which before had seemed to be a mountain—became a straight road in a level space with a slight decline to the left that then turned up into other mountains; and a straight short plain to the right that seemed to crash with hills that must look like mountain peaks from the other side. So there—over a road high above what seemed the level surface of the earth when altitude does not make sense to the mind busied in its own immediate perspective—was the van soaring above the world guarded to each side. Although there were some hills as a background to the front and the back of our view, it still seemed as if the van were in a procession through a hall walled by two files of mountains. The soil was still hard and yellow, perhaps more yellow than the one before. The rocks stood released from the ground, enduring with the dust. The trees farther into these hills were still short and thin, surrounded by long gone trees or those barely holding sparks of life. The spark was still dull, rather holding the memory of old splendor than eager to let it shine; seldom having such occurrence.

There was never a feel of death, nor was there one of life. Death or life kept itself a secret. Yet, the breeze that barely touched the vehicle brought me peace and rest of its own. The life inside the van only worked with the former to let thoughts race: of nature, of rhythm and noise, of pseudoscientific dissertations about nature and culture, about the environment and the lives within it all forming a distinguishable whole.

The trees closed in, everything looked greener, holding a not very well kept secret: a spring of water gushing vigorously. It was crowded by loneliness and sadness, by courage to breathe and a spark of wonder—sightseers fleeing their own austerity, unconsciously sure that they are no different than these places, trying to take pride with a forlorn smile on what they convince themselves they are.

The Crocodile and the Fly. And the Bird. And the Spider too. a fable

The spider weaved a beautiful web.

“This is my art. This is what I do”, she said as passers by stopped and watched.

“I hope you enjoy my work, I think I am getting close to discovering my signature style”.

The fly flew by oblivious to the art. The spider struck up conversation and talked with high brow. The fly, intimidated, decided to praise the work most easily available to its eyes. “The lines, I see, represent the connections of the living things with life, the center is that spring of life we all crave and search for”, he exclaimed excitedly but with a controlled range, too anxious to sound smart, endearingly failing to the audience of one, but still surprised by itself of what so rapidly had been blurted out, trying at once to remember what it was.

“I am amazed! You sure can see through what I thought was so personal yet tried to convey”, after a thoughtful careful pause, she continued with a friendly but hesitant voice, “I don’t usually allow strangers to do this—I am very protective of my work you see…, but you have won my trust and you should be able to touch my art. Only that way you will really feel its meaning. I have an odd sensation that through your perception you can unearth more things hidden within it than even I could have found.

The limbs of the fly were the missing stroke of genius that would catapult Spider to artistic renown.

The spider proudly traveled around showcasing her work to more of the flies who in turn empowered her craft to insurmountable stature.

I wish I could say that the fly, surviving somehow, realized this and was very, very sad, taking the lesson to heart, but I obviously can’t. I wish I could tell you that remorse filled the spider that brought her to change, but I’d need to ask her and last time I saw her she was but a gulp inside the bird’s throat.

So, what is the moral of this fable, you may ask…

Why, well, it is, of course, that you should beware… of… say, spider-ravenous cold-eyed evil birds destroying artwork, grabbing you from perhaps a leg—just one of all you might have—and toy with you around and gulp you deep down.

So come already and absorb this wisdom that the spiders and flies and the treacherous birds so eagerly want you to listen to.

Sad Secrets of the Universe!

And so it begins, with a chair and writing equipment…

I haven’t written anything. I haven’t. It is pitiful I know. I can number a great amount of excuses. I can even bring in not being able to get up in the morning with a motivation, being very busy and spent by the end of the day, spending most of the time I do have eating to pass the time and then regretting having eaten so much, feeling sick and hating myself just a little for having given myself to gluttony, but not calling it that, simply eating nonstop without giving myself a chance to stand up and realize my stomach is stretching desperately to hold it all in.

I won’t, that’s what whiners do, self involved little twerps, emo kids… I am not an emo kid. I am a man, master of my life. I am strong and positive minded. My mind is a key player in the universe to bring about whatever my inner self desires; my outlook is always what the universe needs in exchange. I have the power to make this day the day of my life. I take what comes and make beauty out of it. Give me work and I will give you revenue to the point work will not, at least for others, be a must. Give me poverty and I’ll give you a feast from the infinity that lives within the crusts of bread, leaving those crusts as charity for the needy outside. Give me sadness and I’ll unravel it until you see the inherent joy that is within, then I’ll take that to heart and share it to others and with the remains of it beat the evil spirits that say I can’t.

The writer—as in writing person and not current profession—stared proudly at his very short text, cherishing having exposed his acquired bits of worldly and trendy wisdom mingled with truth while still rather enjoying his effortless state of being that kept him from writing any further. And so he left the chair. A bit more pensive, a little gayer, not given in to anything that wouldn’t be after him in the first place—though maybe not quite standing his ground; or maybe again, doing so a little for the first time in a while.

What can there be so bright and sunny as a rainy day after all

(This was written on Easter Sunday and through the eve of Monday and published on myspace as a first formal blog, but I decided to use one of these cooler blog things instead, so I copied and pasted it here so that I may already have something here).

I am a little embarrassed to say that Easter has never been a really big festivity as such in my life or in the way it itself affects me personally or my week. Easter has, sadly, mostly meant a time when I get vacation, when I get to be free of school–or now, work–for at least some time. As a child, everyone cherishes days off; and I as a teenager despised my High School and College experiences. Most of the moments endured there, the responsibilities that came with them, the environment which wasn’t particularly hostile against me but which I contemplated with sadness and pity and certain disgust, all caused a certain despair and frustration in me. I appreciated teenage years, but I felt I was wasting them in my particular schools and city and worse yet, I felt they were only driving me to a future I didn’t want. Needless to say, once in college, I wasn’t happy with my major. I loved my teenage years and many things in my life, but mostly those which I lived outside of school time. Hence, vacations were my life; and school—especially through High School and the first year or so of college—was just like a parenthesis in that life; I was just living through it in wait for “life” and I was constantly fearing it as I knew that even when this “life” arrived, the start of a new parenthesis was just around the corner. Easter in some way represented the coming of that “life” or of a small break from that long frustrating “break from living” that seemed to be school.

With all this, in the actual days that celebrate the main events towards Easter Sunday, the memory of the sacrifice was still present. You hear about it on TV and it is obviously touched upon at church, which I usually attend. I would say some prayers at random times of the day or sometimes make an effort to remember early in the mornings and make a special prayer regarding that sacrifice. Through these weeks, I did often feel terrible for living a life I shouldn’t be living and realizing in some way that I wasn’t fully embracing the sacrifice when I resumed my uneven life. A few years in my late teens and early twenties, I was able to work in missions during Easter week and the Easter topics were touched upon, but the mission activities and what God was doing in those days was still more pervasive than the celebration. I guess, thinking right now about it, that that is the true spirit of the celebration in some way. It should go beyond a day and a church service into a life in which the duties performed spring from that sacrifice and that resurrection; and life itself is about living the outcome of those Easter events. Still, I sustain, the celebration per se was never in itself such a huge thing going on in me.

And that brings me to the present. The celebration is still the same, I remembered it, I’ve heard talk about it and I am aware of it, but I can’t say it tinged my week, though, thinking now about it after having typed the last paragraph, I now don’t know how much it really should have. After these thoughts I guess I wish I could really live this memory everyday in a way that honors it. As I think about it, I do think the sacrifice and resurrection are actually somewhat present in my life at any time of the year (very different to the Nativity celebrations which do bring to mind some specifics about Jesus in a different way than during the rest of the year). After all, a very realistic part of the Christian life is to have that sacrifice and resurrection in mind. That’s what it’s all about when you hear a sermon or sing a song of worship; when you pray and use Jesus’ name to be able to reach the Father as a son of God, or when you ask for forgiveness; that’s what you are constantly reminded of when you read the Bible even when you read the Old Testament. So I guess there is some justification in me for not living a very specific, noticeable highlight about the crucifixion every Easter. Yet, my life hasn’t in quite a while really been what it should be, not on Easter, not on most of the rest of the year. Remembering the sacrifice more often than just on Easter is no justification for getting to live so lowly on so many Easter weeks—and well, that’s if we decide to leave the judgment about my life on Easter weeks alone.

But back to the topic about my Easter experiences or about how the remembrance about the events related to the Easter celebrations affects me specifically during this week. What I really wanted to talk about when I started writing this is about one little thing that rather fascinates me regarding this week. About this special connection I feel there is between the week it lands on in our calendars and the actual week that is remembered. A connection that has to do with the weather.

Where I live, almost every single Good Friday brings about dark clouds and often rain. Even when it has been dry most of the time surrounding it, we usually get a wetter and darker week, or at least a wetter and darker Friday. It is a something extra that reminds me of that day and I mostly appreciate it (I say mostly because perhaps I should appreciate it with more enthusiasm than I actually do?). It’s a cool reminder in the cases I just go through the day as through any other day. It’s a kind of proof to the people around that this day matters though it might feel of little value or a coincidence to many, especially if this specific thing doesn’t happen all over the world. Most of all, it is just, personally, a really cool connection to that actual day.

This year was a big exception.

Good Friday here carried with it clear, sunny, dry skies. In fact, I don’t think there was one cloud in sight from Wednesday to Friday.

I didn’t make a big fuss about it; I just coolly thought it a pity to lose that cool thing about Easter I enjoy observing. However, later on, on Easter Sunday, I did find and felt a particular special connection to that week.

Let’s start from the beginning. Weather wise, this week was not in the least normal. Monday was a warm, average day (well, average to what was to come, but still considering that a week ago it had been cold). Tuesday started the same way; I think there weren’t even any clouds early in the morning. At around ten in the morning though, the skies suddenly became very dark—but brown instead of gray—and the wind was blowing quite madly. The northern area is very dry and the soil is very loose. I am guessing that the winds picked it up and covered the mist and clouds that were near the ground level with brown, maybe the clouds and mist were mostly made of soil and dust, I don’t know, but more than feeling the particles, you could smell soil in the warm wind blowing strongly against you and against trees and billboards, many of which ended up falling against cars and causing a small chaos in a city which due to this phenomenon had many power outages, some of which took days to repair. The city seemed desolate by the afternoon; the winds went on at varying strengths (taking into account it calmed down during the evening for some hours) until around four in the morning of the next day. The whole day had been brown, warm, dry, and… soily.

Oddly enough, by the early morning, the sky was blue, not clean bright blue, but blue after all with not one cloud in sight and no dangerous wind to be felt. Among the problems that this small phenomenon left behind was that due to the lack of heavy rains for some five months and the heat, a fire had started somewhere near the south, the winds of course blew up the fire out of manageable proportions and some towns nearby were put in danger as it extended more and more with the days after having been dispersed terribly to begin with on that Tuesday. By the north there was an explosion in some plants that treated or extracted gas. The fire there also seemed unquenchable due to the continuing explosions the first one caused; I don’t really know if they controlled it by the weekend (they probably did). Anyway, the blue cloudless skies remained blue and cloudless for days while the fire kept consuming more land. This means that Good Friday, which had usually brought some rain, did the opposite of what was not only expected but this time also desired. Rain resolved not to bring refreshment and ease to this area that needed it. Darkness decided not to arrive this time when it would actually bring some cheer and refreshment instead of gloom while also bringing to those of us who cared about it, that typical connection with that day in history.

What I go to is that maybe, those depressing, dirtily clear bright blue skies were that Darkness that rainy clouds had brought before; while rain took that form of refreshment and ease of Dust and Fire on the Sunday that would commemorate the day of the resurrection of the savior of the desolate and desperate. On Friday there was fire and desolation combined with despair regarding the hoped for arrival of rain. On Saturday, the clouds were already assembling—white scattered ones showing through a moon that seemed still full. Early Sunday was receiving light refreshing rain that subdued for some time making the city sunny and safe to transit. This rain came back evenly and calmly later in the afternoon and through the evening to continue that refreshment process. Life was renewed. Jesus came back to life and gives us new life.

I know these comparisons might seem to some idly poetic and foolishly contrived, but I just regard them as a nice personal poetic reminder to savor.

And maybe for the first time, Easter was more of an actual and more special remembrance of the events for me. Not only for the welcome Sunday rain instead of the dark one expected for Friday, but because I actually ended up writing this and thus perhaps reflecting on it more distinctly as a celebration.

Welcome and behold my first post’s original title

Welcome to my long awaited by myself blog. I simply enjoy writing and I am starting this as a a tool I hope I will use and enjoy while I might get a reader or two who might actually like something I write. I simply want something to get me writing, plus it is good to have a platform to speak out even if it’s only for yourself and no one will read, but I still, of course, hope someone will.

I had considered opening one of these for years, especially after the repeated suggestion of a great blogger (I might post a link to hers here or anywhere in the blog whenever I have time to figure out how this all works [UPDATE: I did!!]), but I never did create one, partly for fear, partly for feeling incapable of committing to writing, and partly for simply leaving it for later. My goal is going to be to try (I’m always rather careful when it comes to committing) to post one a week–hopefully more, but at least one. For now I am going to cheat. I opened this like a week ago on Easter Sunday I think and even wrote something. However, I was unsure about having a “formal” blogging space and just posted it on myspace. Well, I am now going to copy and paste it here as my first formal post so I can feel at ease about this week’s post. And anyway, if that doesn’t really count in the code of ethics for those who try to post once a week, then this very post you are somehow reading should be enough, as short and typical a blog’s  welcoming post as it may be. So anyway, I hope whoever reads this finds it alright, and also hope I do use it well.