Monday, February 10, 2014

Red Clay: Cerrado

So, memories, they are like these chained sets of images, each with its own context and history but which nonetheless still require all the bits and pieces hanging to the chain itself, scents and sounds, a sense of temperature or weather, in order to gather up and bulge and explode in their full meaning; not unlike that game "wherein the Japanese amuse themselves by filling a porcelain bowl with water and steeping in it little pieces of paper which until then are without character or form, but, the moment they become wet, stretch and twist and take on color and distinctive shape, become flowers or houses or people, solid and recognizable."

These image sets, multi-pronged devices that reach over a lifetime and more, that pop up unexpectedly and with no forewarning between this step and that one when I jump over a puddle on the sidewalk. Like the scent of fresh rain in the view from the top of that hill, in the heart of the cerrado, just after the car turned a curve and the valley appeared clear and shinning below and it was almost 4 o'clock in the afternoon with the sun still high in the sky and so much light under all that blue. And we stopped and stepped out and sat on a makeshift wooden bench hanging precariously against the tree and I wondered just for a minute who would have built it, although there was enough reason for it right there: an invitation for rest and contemplation, with all that view stretching far to the rooftops of a town almost indistinguishable much down below, with its church towers and bells. And we sat and took in the view and I pondered on how good it felt to be there with you then and on that perhaps it was happiness and I could still hear the drums of the waterfall and feel my skin under that same sun just a little earlier. And then you smiled and I thought of not leaving and you may have just guessed it, because you became a more still and serious. While all that sun bathing short trees and scrubs and the sparse vegetation that barely covered all that red clay everywhere. And I thought: I can think but wish I could just feel more or brave more, and the sun was still a long way from setting and we talked about the ranch house down below and about the walk and your hands on my shoulder and your eyes so dark and when we kissed it felt a bit like an unspoken goodbye and we said nothing for a long time and just sat looking down the valley, the wind brushing the leaves of the cashew tree above us and your hair flowing freely and by then almost dry.

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