I feel like im floating. I’ve been walking for two hours through dirt roads of the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. My head is light. My mind is clear.
But my stomach, phew my stomach feels like it is being gripped and twisted by the hand of a monster. I guess thats what happens when you eat half a kilo of chocolate in a day.
I’m never gonna eat chocolate again.
Three days ago, I made a couple of kilos of chocolate in Oaxaca city. At the local mill, melty, gooey cacao mass oozed out of the milling machine on to a pile of dark, raw, crystalline sugar.
Roasted almonds, cinnamon and peanuts went in next. The locals and I exchanged recipes. I tasted some of the homogenized goo. An indulgent beast awakened in me.
Arriving back at the kitchen, I began to shape, mold and flavor the chocolate. I added some roasted orange leaves and tasted it here, threw in some salt, tasted it there. Peanuts? Why not.
Turmeric, cranberries, cinnamon, amaranth. Taste. Taste. Taste. Taste.
My stomach hurts. Okay, okay, I’m done.
But the chocolate just set in the fridge... I had to try the finished product.
Fuck that’s good. Taste. Taste. Taste.
I walked into town to get my mind off the chocolate. That didn’t work. I got back to my place.
Taste. Taste. Taste. Sleep.
I awoke a few hours later with a deep, hollow nausea and within a few minutes, had a chocolatey date with the toilet. Yeah. Too much chocolate exists.
I witnessed my overdose passionately escaping my stomach from both ends. Today, as I walk this road through the mountains, I still feel the echos of my indulgence.
I’m never gonna eat chocolate again.
Im hoping movement will help my stomach. I realize I’m a bit lost. Searching for a town called San Mateo, I relish in the feeling of the unknown, openness, vulnerability.
I came across an impossibly vibrant, green field. Decorated with small wooden structures. A home. A kitchen. A stable. Clearly fabricated from the materials of the land they rested on.
A color spectrum of flowers that could do nothing but make me smile, spread amongst the land.
The songs of birds weaved and danced through the pine trees; Verdant digits reaching from the mountain. My olfactory system welcomed the smell of the pine. An uplifting smell.
A rolling, peeling wave of aroma filled me.
A young boy sat on a gentle green hill. His back towards me, his front facing the steep mountain side ahead. He was laughing and playing with sticks.
The bright sun melted over the scene like molten gold. I greeted him, he greeted me. He knew what I needed as he pointed towards a group of men, with a smile on his innocent face.
I approached the men and asked how to get to San Mateo. They slowly pointed in the opposite direction, claiming I missed a turn.
As I was leaving the scene, an old man caught my attention with a friendly shout. A man of a simple life, but surely not one without loss.
It seems the most challenging times can cultivate the most potent peace. That peace shined through his eyes.
His eyes were dark, his skin, dark too. Like leather, wrinkled, worn leather. A type of look that conveyed a marriage to the elements.
He shared some tips for my journey to San Mateo, gave me a smile, and wished me well.
As we parted ways, another man invited me to jump on his motorbike and drop me off at a road closer to San Mateo. I accepted his offer, hopped on the bike, and we were off.
He dodged, dipped and dove with his bike. Elegantly avoiding potholes that dotted the road like craters on the moon. We speed down winding roads, with plummeting cliffs on either side.
In these moments, I gotta let go.
A life lived in fear is a life robbed of spontaneity.
A life without spontaneity is life without sincerity.
Letting go, trusting; and like this, days flow from form to form, formulating a dream like state.
Seriousness is rigidity
Sincerity is fluidity
what is, comes into being
What “is”, ya know, not the sound “water” we make by slapping the meat of our mouths around and vibrating our feeding tube, but that feeling you get when you gaze at a cascading stream of water,
reflecting the sun light, like a sparkling rave of fairies dusted in MDMA. That.
Or while you’re laying in the grass, watching the leaves and branches of the trees sway in the wise whispers of the wind. That. A state of perfect imperfection. Congruous cacophony.
Dancing metaphors. A deep breath. A slow submerge into a warm candlelit bath. A harmony.
We arrived at the road and we hopped off the motorbike. I rolled us a joint. My short and smiley chauffeur watched patiently as I tried to light it with a shoddy lighter in the windy mountains.
After many attempts, the joint sparked with a weak ember. We shared a few hits and several laughs. The joint went out, it wasn’t lit well. He looked at me with a subtle smile.
He gauged the direction of the wind, put his back to it, rose his shoulders to his ears, dropped his head low,
cupped his rough leathery hands around the lighter and had the joint blazing within seconds. He smiled bigger, we laughed gently. He offered me a snack.
A young French traveler walked by us and we invited him over. He wore a flannel, had a whispy beard and piercing blue eyes. The three of us exchanged stories and laughter.
He explained in Spanish, seasoned with the spices of the French accent, an alternative more scenic route back to the town I was staying in, San Jose del Pacifico.
I caught the salient points, at least I thought I did. We wished each other well and parted ways.
“Below the church of San Mateo, approach a river, don’t cross the bridge, take a path to the right and follow it home, allow the river to guide the way” I repeated to myself.
I arrived in San Mateo, not a second too soon not a second too late. I walk down the steeply sloped road which led into the center of the small village.
Dazzling flowers, the sounds of roosters, the pounding of a hammer. Time slowed. The few people seen, gently moving amongst their homestead, doing what needed to be done, but nothing more.
People patiently walking up the steep rocky roads, which lay over the mountains, like hardened rivers stuck in time. My destination, San Mateo, was not a place, it was a new perspective.
The few roads all led down to the center, where men were bantering outside store fronts, drinking mezcal and beer. There was a church, a few small stores and a farmers market with two vendors.
An old man selling lime ice cream, ringing a bell with a smile on his face. A giggling child placing a kicking rabbit, the size of him, into a bag and tying it up.
A woman preparing fresh tortillas, filling the town with the smell of comfort. I sat, ate and watched.
On my way out, I stumbled upon an eclectic cafe on the edge of the town. I sat myself down and ordered an espresso. A beautiful woman from Spain hand ground the fresh coffee beans.
The beans were dark like her hair. The smell intoxicating like her beauty. We had a moment of solidarity while we exhaled and expressed our love of the smell.
We held eye contact briefly, but I looked away. Intimacy can scare me. The man to my left was a native here. He had long hair, a small guitar, he wore a vest with patches and a friendly smile.
The three of us, enjoying smooth hits of a joint and expressive sips of espresso.
It was getting late, I needed to make it back to San Jose del Pacifico before dark. I recalled the instructions to the alternative route, and started walking.
I took the road going down from the church, until I found the river. I split right and walked into the forest.
The dirt path crunched beneath my feet. The symphony of exotic bird song demanded a silence, a reverence.
The soft babble of my guide, my companion, the river, made every cell within me realize a deep breath.
The path and the river weaved through each other, offering a new crossing every five minutes or so. It was a dance, a tale of two friends, departing, changing, only to reunite again.
Reminds me of that quote...how’s it go...
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”
Yeah... that shit.
That’s some good shit.
The river crossings were playful. Each having a unique way of passage. Friendly and jagged stepping stones, a bouncing leap, quaint bridges of fallen pine; they all helped me to pass.
With every bend of the gentle path, came a new picturesque scene. Walking the turns, a new scene would slowly peel into consciousness, like pages, gently flipping through a storybook.
A tiny cabin, with sun light drenched upon its small luscious pasture, butterflies bouncing through the air. What is, comes into being.
A woman, a wise woman, sitting on a stone, watching her sheep graze. Brushing her long, black, gray striped hair, smiling, revealing her broken teeth, and igniting her eyes.
What is, comes into being.
An agave plant, strong in stature, ancient in form, and otherworldly in essence. The forest behind it, crawling up the mountain. The trees sat on the top ridges like a crown.
What is, comes into being.
I reached the paved road leading north to San Jose Del Pacifico.
Walking back into town, the potent red of the sun dropped slowly over the smoky mountain ridges, brilliant colors painted the sky.
I sat myself in front of my cabana, the sunset encompassing my entire view,
I know I said I’d never eat chocolate again,
but ya know...
no man ever eats the same chocolate twice, for it’s not the same chocolate and he’s not the same man.
So, I ate some chocolate, but only a piece.