In the plaintive shadows of the canyon where the sun does not reach, I stand alone while the winds descend from the ridge tops and throw themselves at me like mad dogs. My poncho whips up. I am alone but there are generations of men who have gone ahead of me. They have been undone before me. I am waiting to be undone, like them.
Time and water have made this canyon. It is the work of a patient carpenter who has struck minuscule blow after minuscule blow against imperious stone and vanquished in the end. It is a question of time and water. And infinite patience.
Men are not patient. We are anxious, flitting things. We do not have the patience of even a pebble or a drop of water. A mountain seems implacable, yet eventually water and wind will reduce its mightiness to a pebble. Men, who look disbelievingly at their watches if a train is behind schedule, cannot begin to fathom such patience.
Antonio lives in an adobe hut on the road to Cafayate. There are no doors but the fire inside is always burning. The mud bricks are worn in gullies by the rivulets of waters that course from the roof in storms. His face is composed of wrinkled gullies and sun-hardened skin. It is a face that time has endured. In time, the face too will be worn away.
We have traveled back in time while time has carried us back in water, to the waters that have formed us gently, then broken to spill us out into the world. We have needed water to live and to survive. We have broken water to fill our glass with weary time, the same water that has sculpted canyons of happiness in the grave stones.
We have clutched at dawns and setting suns in a desperate need to undo the dark feeling inside that creeps and annihilates. When the sun disappears behind the last peak, does it spill in golden glory into a vast pool or disappear uneventfully into a dark gulch?
What will our last stand on this plump earth be like? Will we be relentlessly eroded like this canyon that rises up around me? Or are we like the water that flows endlessly even as the terrain through which it flows is transformed?
What is it that we seek? What do we look for in the pale blue beyond? What lies in the far country on the other side? Is the pale blue light a last act or the first insinuation of a new day?
The trance begins. The trance ends. The night descends. Our lives are enormous queries whose answer the wind whips out of reach.
We can only wait.