Saturday, March 1, 2014

Allerce Strength

One Allerce, laid across a river, is a bridge for more than 50 years. This strength amazed me as my feet moved a couple meters above the rivers in Cochamo. Maybe it is the granite walls that catch the sun and throw it back down, or the trees that cloak the valley in green, or the warmth of the people that pulled me back; maybe it is all three. I found my heart being called into the heart of the valley. I carried my climbing harness and shoes down to south america, I could only hope the universe would put me on the rock. Three days after class ended, I found myself flexing my muscle fibers on the comfortable six mile hike in. The weather was phenomenal in contrast to the pouring rain that permeated my heart and soul the previous visit. I landed in paradise on earth. 

As you can tell, there were an incredible number of people. It was strange to see such a pristine place covered with tents and noise. I myself, was one of them of course and understand the draw. However, it is a seemingly constant battle to keep beautiful places free from people. Luckily, it only takes ten minutes to get deep into the forest where the Chucaos and rayaditos reign the world of sound, and the trees envelop you in their arms. Emilce and I cooked dinner and plopped down for sleepy conversations and rest. In the morning I awoke to what I would learn is her ritual; chocolate to sweeten that first breath of the day.

My favorite part of the trip was spending time with Emilce in the morning and before bed where I would have to practice my Spanish with this native spanish speaker. Laughter was found as we flailed through incorrect sentences and resorted to facial expressions to say what we couldn´t with words. I am unbelievably grateful for this woman and have a feeling I will be returning to her soon.

The walls are large and relatively unclimbed. I found the wookie below deep in the jungle and hoped he would carry me up the granite. Luck was on my side and I found my hands in a beautiful fissura, with my heart pounding, and exhiliration bouncing through the walls of my being. 

Aside from climbing, my experience was filled with the happiness of being. There are a few places I have found that melt my heart and hold me. The way the river flows so surely through the valley, flashing turquoise, and deep green, with red tannins is unbelievably perfect. And the brilliance of the greens and granite is impossible to put into words.

La niña adentro yo es llena de vida. The child inside me is never far and was found painting running swimming and cuddling daily. A young member of this community, Zen, Carved a spoon for one of the women who works in the Refugio. The tenderness of the gesture appeared in her peripheral tears as the gift was presented.

Then there were the goofy Americans who live for the rocks. The backcountry for them became a home, comfortable and reliable. Empanadas, donuts and coffee were only some of the treats they chose to splurge on. It was a brave and worthy endeavor that I hope to repeat in the future.

Patterns also fall on the people just as often as they do in nature. It made me wonder if we attract certain people by what we wear. How important are our own visual cues? Look at the next picture and Think about it.

One thing I am learning to do here is to say my goodbyes. Normally, I fear them and sneak out with no words. However, A tradition here is to greet and leave with a kiss, no matter how many times you encounter each other in a day. The closeness that this cultivates is deep and wholesome. In the super sanitized USA, a hand is offered while greeting new people. When I offered my hand here, puzzlement reigned over the face above the hand followed by "how cold." It is cold and I hope to change my own custom in the future.

The birthday girl above was treated to the birthday sheep below. She is one of the women I felt inspired by. Her being exudes warmth, and she had a tremendous amount of patience and openness with my Spanish.

The whole asado reminded me of iron chef. There were teams manning their tiny camp stoves and each group was making culinary masterpieces which then were carried around the camp with two spoons to eat directly from the pot. If any of you know me, you probably know how I feel about germs. Spoons and straws make me shiver when I think about the germs... But! Alas South America has hardened me and I can drink mates and share food in peace. 

Music is a part of my life that I have had to let happen when it should and listen to the birds when it's not around. At the asado, the deep bump of the djembe rattled my bones and set dancing into my system. The way a bass drum moves through the human body will always be a wonder to me.

The next morning I hiked out behind this mountain vogue girl who sported her best heels for the 5 hour hike. I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I saw this and I wasn't sure if I respected her or thought her a fool. Maybe both. I will never know if she made it...

Once again my post is scattered, but as always I thank you for sharing my journey with me. Wishing you the best on your journeys and always Take care of your feet!


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