Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jujuy trek

Arrived home from my Jujuy trek @ 9:00 today, twelve hours late due to a road washout just south of La Viña.

Michael Cardew [pic courtesy of Literary Review]

This review of the biography of potter Michael Cardew reminded me that my friend Chris recently wrote: there are yogis all over the place, especially in the arts.

5-6 enero 2012 @ Posada de Luz in Tilcara:

Each room’s patio with small-rock floor, large-rock walls, a wooden table, slanted-back wood-framed chairs, canvas or wood-slat seats, mine canvas. I wonder whether the wood slats feel like a backrub. Beyond the patio close-cropped patchy grass. A hose wrapped around a rock pile.

Saturday night we walk the dirt roads that hold many signs of abandoned life — wire, nails, plastic, a shoe, a bottle, ribbon, a rolled-over toy, paper — not a scrap of it edible. Cats on walls, in windows. Thorn branches ring the plaza grass. No pisar en cesped. The dogs jump over. A huge cat ignores an investigating dog. Children play. A family passes round the maté cup.

Sunday morning I’m dressed & packed for the trek, waiting for breakfast & hot water for tea. Am so excited & so full of complaints.

Last night I drank half a bottle of Malbec with my excellent chunks-of-lamb-on-a-stick dinner. Felt unsafe going to sleep with the garden doors open. The little window — a 12” square mosquito highway — was too small for ventilation. I arranged the four pillows around & under me like small bodies. Hardly slept.

Early roosters, dogs, all-night party-ers, car horns, birds, a flutter of doves. Once the dogs start it’s nonstop. Greeting or warnings. A cat skedaddles away from me on my 7 AM ramble. When the dogs stop, it’s only birds & distant traffic. Silence of VL, not RL. A popgun shot, dogs in waves, a two-stroke motor, a late rooster.

Knipfolia — lots. Also a plant with dark-pink, impatiens-like flowers that open only at night. Under a molle dozens of small white feathers. A tall molle with a 6-foot-diameter boll. On it a plaque: O.E.P.D. Santos Manfredi III & a date. Brother Santos & sister Luz — Saints & Light — own Posada de Luz.

I’m hungry, eating a nut bar, wearing lightweight clothing, arms covered. Sun shines on the western hills. The pink night flowers are still open, the day beautiful. A tiny yellow bird with a black tail carries twigs for a nest. Three trunks grow from the fallen & standing walnut — nogal, one trunk dead & mistletoed. Plant bits fall onto my shirt. The western mountains cloudy, eastern clear. Dawn’s cloud cover thins to blue. The air so pure, dry, still with morning. Bells. From the church? Sunday morning early mass?

A concrete-clad brick chimney topped by a roof-metal slab topped by a water tank — nothing level.

The graphic on my door, a fish; on Kent's door, a man.

My teeth are brushed. Kent’s up & ready for breakfast — café con leche, medialunas with butter, fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh-fruit salad — banana, apple, kiwi, peach, plum, strawberry, orange juice.

Squeals, howls, barks, yips. Kent tells me the shepherd who lives in the mountains west & south of Cafayate keeps 15 dogs to keep away the pumas, which would otherwise eat the chickens, goats, sheep, cows, a smaller herd of dogs.

In my pockets a cotton handkerchief, a toothpick, an iPhone, after-meal pills. On my back a very light pack containing a 1.8-liter water bladder, binoculars, a Swiss army knife, a green apple, three nut bars, two squares of chocolate. Around my neck a camera. I believe we head out east & south.

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