miracle in disguise

i just spent 1o days in the provinces of salta/jujuy (bordering chile and bolivia). i feel like a renewed person. i know what life is about and it’s about making one’s own goat cheese, looking in awe at the dusty splendor in the black sky (stars, lots of stars), dogs barking and clothes drying on adobe roofs, and the selfless generosity of strangers.

it is feeling invincible on a new planet.

it is meeting a 6 year old who is curious about life, who likes to braid your hair, who giggles because i use a knife and fork with a chunk of meat.

it is mountain ridges miles high, natural lagoons 3000 meters above sea level.

it is women with hunched backs, canyon wrinkles in their dulce de leche skin, large sacks embroidered deep violet and yellows, inside pounds of  sweet potatoes. it is a flirty sixteen year old girl, sipping one of her first beers and fluttering her eyelashes at a gelled-mulleted-eyebrow-pierced boy. her tummy is warm dough, her breasts pressing out of her bejweled satin top. 

it is mind-blowing landscape. foggy green turns to thirsty browns and then brick reds mirror a sunset.

it is cumbia music pumping out of every car and corner store. it is the music of the andes: the sikus and charango played by every local.

it is chewing coca as we’re on our 6th hour hiking up a mountain.

it is the appreciation for mother nature. taking care and celebrating the land. every city and town we stepped in had a monument/statue dedicated to ‘the mother’. the maternal figure is at every heart.

it is my birkenstock tan. my birks that survived stones, cactus spikes, bull shit (actually poop from a bull). they gave me equilibrium.

it is a house with earth for ground and undulated tin for roof.

it is humitas: ground up corn, soft and creamy with goat cheese inside. a present wrapped up in corn husks. the humita is sweet, but it’s older brother, the tamal is a bit more aggressive. the tamal has juicy meat inside, raisins, a bit of egg, and all those red salty juices dye the parcel a warm orange. don’t forget the empanadas with quinoa and chopped up onion, cheese, llama. and some fernet and cocacola for digestion.

now i know what life is about. it’s not about counting money, about your haircut, your routine, it’s not about writing this blog. when dfwallace wrote that commencement speech he starts with an anecdote: “one fish says to another, ‘how’s the water?’. the fish responds ‘what water?”. there are too many fishes that dont know there is water around them. i discovered some water on this trip.


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