Sunday, January 23, 2011

Treasure of the Sierra Madre

I woke up in a town I couldn´t remember the name of, 3 feet from the highway.
The man at the market today gave me a free orange, as if he knew that later that day I would be lost in the desert.

I have only recently reminded myself how uncomfortable the desert used to make me.  I used to hold my breath at the sight of it.  This is rattlesnake country.  The kind you might remember from Roadrunner cartoons.  The landscape is stark.  All the plants have thorns, like the environment isn´t harsh enough, and grow 3 feet tall.  The trees are all at the top of the hills, as if the shrubbery had seiged them up there.  It is quiet.  There is no wind.  I am dropped off at an intersection in the middle of nowhere.  A semi driver earlier told me that not many cars go down there, but I thought well, I only need one.

Wrapped my shawl around my head & shoulders to prepare for the long haul.  (Some people call it a serong, like it´s trendy & from Thailand, but I prefer to call it what it is.  It makes me feel like an old lady.)  Also, looking like you´ve been waiting a long time could be a lucrative way to get rides, although I didn´t wait more than 20 minutes.  The trail walking alongside the road was definately made with hooves.

As we get into the mountains - my 4th & final chain of Sierra Madres, thank you - it gets more lush.  I kind of like the state of Queretaro.  Every little town I´ve stopped in feels really cool.  I am grateful to the demolition workers who literally carved the road into the mountain.  We passed a couple of them cooking up tacos on the side of the road.  It smells like the lake here.  Feels refreshing.

In Xilitla, only fools take shortcuts into a ravine, or so I thought.  Getting good at tackling barbed wire is a survival skill.  It felt like Wile E Coyote trying to sneak past the sheepdog.  That is a really large bone he`s gnawing on. 

Can´t explain the way the change of horizon feels.  Wait, did this used to be...horizontal?  I´ve always been a bit of a climber, just like I´ve been a bit of a grappler, but without the training.  Don´t think about how you´re getting down - just think about your appetite.  Those rocks are scattering down a long way...  this is better.  This feels right.  To work for it.  Suddenly I´m at the mouth of the falls, or higher.  I don´t want it handed to me.  I want to get lost & find it myself. 

I came into a clearing.  ....Wow.  Beauty.  Not too far away there are pastures & I can no longer hear the falls, but I hear cows.  Dammit - there was an easier way to get up here wasn´t there!

Bear turds.  I know this might be jaguar country, but I take solice in thinking that they´re both nocturnal - to the best of my knowledge - and that this view would be shit at night.

My knees are weak.  I can´t slow down or stop or I might collapse.  As soon as I promise to stick to the stairs, I head left uphill on some overgrown trail.  It ends at a treehouse with bamboo floors, high above the valley.  I think about my ¨former¨ fear of heights.  Bamboo floors are bouncy.

These ruins are being constructed right now.  Just some eclectic archetect decided to.  Middle Earth.  Escher paintings.  Infinity stairs.

All the Mexicans dress like it´s winter, & my face is freezing underwater.  I think about when Kelvin would tell me to simply be aware of when water that´s obviously too cold feels normal.  I am going to catch hypothermia.  Two Mexican guys dive off the ruins, must be 5m, into the pool that´s 6ft.  Several times.  I almost flip out but leave instead.  Non-westernized countries have a different idea of fear.  We´re scared of them, our health, safety, accidents, getting sued, what people think, whatever.  They´re pretty much just worried about getting by.

I was told Xilitla gets more rain than anywhere in the state.  I laughed.  It just started raining.  I hate rain.

If I´m going to be doing this sort of thing - and call it intution, but I think I will be - I need to learn what poison ivy looks like IMMEDIATELY!

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