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Field Notes: Colombia

An adventure in reconnection, renewal, & the Unknown.

I. We find our steps, again, in a lacunae ten thousand miles deep by seven years wide, but the same portal sun beckons there to the children of wolves. In the stillness now is not heaviness but a coarse patoi of courage, stumbling on tongue tips of burnt honey. Not an aimless idle, but an inner knowing that an invisible River never ceases, even in yearning, in restless drought, even where a sandbar erased the map.

Listen: Danza del Agua – Miki Gonzalez

Tayrona National Park, Magdalena // Caribbean coast
lagoon tatosunsetiguana

monkeyTNP TNP beach TNPsunsetII. We have learned how to look inside the hollow, rather than without, to find that it is not hollow at all but a prism bending this way and that, waiting to refract shivers of cerulean lemondrop dusk in late August if only these tendrils would shake the dirt and reach, just further. We fear the mirrorage and the apostrophe but we are learning to trust the rain.

Listen: Antenna – Bonobo

Minca, Magdalena // Sierra NevadasWATERFALL1 swimminghole mincastream

bamboo

hammockIII. Behind traded verse, Quetzalcoatl drums a memory of the future into resounding silence–that voice-echoing-open-armed emptiness waiting to be found and filled with breath amidst a fray of nation-sized wounds, festering traumas, the perfume of homeless sorrows mingling with diesel exhaust, swollen bellies, transcontinental bloodlines seeking a womb, self-sabotage, exile.

Listen: Montañita – Lulacruza

Minca y Nemocón, Cundinamarcamincasunbursyt

solitude

mincasunsetsaltminepurplesaltoftheearthminegreenIV. Hip to hip through jungles of monkey vine and slave-shaped stone, sabanna brush and virgen blessings, we walk and I burn blood from my cheeks. I see, now. My ghosts are not gone; they are dancing in the palm fronds but oh how I sway with them now, twirl my fingers through their hair, build miniature altars to honor the softened skin I wear from their bright bones.

Listen: Pools – Glass Animals

Suesca, Cundinamarca // Sábana de Bogotásuescatracks

suescacrag macksuesca2 tatosuesca macksuesca tatoclimbingnemeconV. Underground, underwater, under canopy, under flame four feet crisscross fallow fields with the mother tongue of coded dreams. Whether the planting is of peonies or cloud forest is not written; for now, the task is to lick salt from old wounds and trace their patterns with a firm hand. But in the scratch of bare shoulders to a thatched floor, in the red embers drawn to the breath of ocean in coastal darkness, there is a planet reflecting back the sunlight.

Listen: Burning Stars – Mimicking Birds

Bogotá y beyond
bogotamuralbogotasunsetplaneview

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The tapestry of tribes

I remember exactly how I felt sitting in a cheap plastic chair on that little balcony during my first night in Cairo, feet propped up on the railing as I stared out at a softly glowing haze thick with dust and sand. Al Qahirah’s tradewinds blew a hot, dirty night breeze into our faces, and despite already knowing that the city’s air was notorious for turning its residents’ lungs as black as pack-a-day smokers, I was completely in love. Continue reading The tapestry of tribes

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Missing the weird

I’m preparing to hand over my job to someone else this week, and then I’ll officially move on to new things. Tonight, I’m combing through old emails for helpful clues to give the incoming fellow about reporting deadlines and donor profiles, and buried five pages back in the gmail archives I discovered a slightly bewildered and bemused note that I wrote home some time during my first month in Kabul:

I’m sitting at a French restaurant called Le Bistro waiting for Una and cheery classical piano music is playing and the waiters wear bowties and they have fig rolls on the menu. Outside, you have to walk down a street closed off to cars by guards holding AK47s, navigate muddy gravel and the stares of neighboring shop owners. It feels cold and eery in its emptiness. But in here, it’s as if we’re as far away from Kabul as can be. I need to share these strange dichotomies with you and talk about how they exist simultaneously in the same plane…

Continue reading Missing the weird