“It's been months since I last wrote. I've lived in a state of mental slumber, leading the life of someone else. I've felt, very often, a vicarious happiness. I haven't existed. I've been someone else. I've lived without thinking.” - Fernando Pessoa
These mountains, vast Kingdoms of an ancient sadness, whose rivers, tumescent with tears and forgotten dreams upon which float the epitaph of expectation, from the cradle of purloined affections to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean where they become lost amongst all the other forgotten dreams of the Earth.
Dreams without measure, gauge-less, existing without indulging in the element of being. A melancholic primordial wisdom. Lost whispers tumultuously thrust against one another, dream against dream, hope against hope and we the dreamers permitted briefly to dream the same dream together in the depths of the arcane sea of humanity. Equally endurable yet unknowable the dreams of one another.
So essential to life as air or water that we spend almost half our entire lives drenched in sleep that so we may dream.
We could not abide living without it. The very verse and breath of life. Poetry does not exist because of man, man exists because of nocturnal poetry. The subliminal quatrains where all is lost & everything found. Without dreams we would witness the withering of the soul. The fruit of our happiness rotting upon the vines of life.
On the friday after the solstice I rode the 140 kilometres to the town of Bariloche to visit the migraciones office and pay my ‘Habilitación de salida’ of 300 pesos, my penance for the violation of overstaying my tourist visa by 5 months.
To my surprise it was a fast and painless process. There was no scolding or awkward questions as to why I had overstayed or how I supported myself through my transgression.
Pleased with myself I boarded the Bus south and home to Lago Puelo but disembarked at El Bolson to visit the open air market and indulge in the only pleasure afforded a now penniless vagabond, that of watching the other dreamers.
No one took any notice as I moved through the sea of timeless exotic faces.
I passed beyond the stalls like a ghost, invisible, scentless and sat in the shade of a nearby tree to smoke a pipe of rich Uruguayan tobacco and watch the world pass me by.
But as I filled the tankard I felt a pair of eyes observing me in my ceremony.
I looked up to see one of the dreamers watching me from her table of homemade crafts. Her lips betraying her discretion by offering an insuppressible smile and embarrassed she looked away for a moment, then continues to watch me even as she converses with her customers.
As I regard her through silver coils of anodised smoke my mind wanders.
I see her there in a few years time, with our two eldest children sitting barefoot at her feet playing word games, our third resting drowsily on her hip as she sings her to sleep with a lullaby in an archaic tongue, her marvellous brown belly swollen with our fourth.
The dream last as long as the tobacco and reluctantly I leave. The saddening joy too much to bear.
Returning to Puelo I change into my work clothes to continue my labours under the faint evening sun.
To turn a sod of earth here in the valley as I’ve done countless times, opens a rich black womb, pregnant with the anticipation of life that springs forth effortlessly and demands that you consider the possible existence of God.
As the sun goes down I begin to think of my imminent departure, across the mountains to a people whose claims of nationhood lie on a narrow strip of the continent between the Andes and the Sea.
After 245 nights of Solitude I will be on the road once more, leaving the valley, the aoristic adytum that is Lago Puelo. The lugubrious gears of time slowly groan into motion as I prepare myself to bid a sombre farewell.
As I pack my bag I am comforted by the thought that though the past resides in our memories, the future will persist in our dreams.