Sunday, June 27, 2010

Once you get good at something, the stakes are raised. This is what they talk about when they talk about the universe granting your desires. If you think you want something, you'll most likely get it. But as the sages probably say, you have to be ready. Because what the universe obviously wants is not for us to remain happy and comfortable the way we, in our narrow way, define those things, but for the scales to fall from our eyes and the way we we used to think of comfort and happiness to seem kind of pathetic, at best irrelevant.

Tallulah is a cheerful id. I fail to follow her lead at my psychic peril. She befriends stray cats and drunk men. One of the men pours out the dregs of his beer and climbs the tree where, he says, the best quenepas grow, tossing down bunches of this sweet, pale-peach-colored fruit that you pop open and suck on like candy.

Like an archaeologist walking a grid, she stops every yard or so to examine whatever might have fallen or grown there. She wanders into the shop of a man whose name, we learn, is Jorge. He's a drummer and his congas are lined up along the walls. She pounds on them, calling him out of the back room with a deep chord of memory that emanates from the stretched hide of the drumhead. We talk. Every culture sees time differently, he tells me.

My occasional frustration with the process of walking slowly, rapturously, around el pueblo--that must be my notion of time knocking up against a whole other way of seeing the world, which understands the valuable information contained in animal droppings, as a tracker does, which perceives possibility in every seedpod and bloom, in every discarded and broken thing.

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