Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Manuel Carceres, Jefe of Machu Piccu Trains.

I took a walk along the Rio Urubamba this afternoon, crossing the train tracks and inching my way along the bank to look into the water in the faint hope of seeing fish jumping for flies. The water here churns in swift rapids high up in the mountains, and dark, filled with dirt and vegetation. I don't begin to know what kind of fish there would be in such waters. I had seen on my way here to Urubamba many fine places for a fisherman to cast his lot in the hope of plenty, but this is the first time I have had a chance to examine the water closely, and I must be pleased with the beauty of it all, passing on those natural places a fisherman would test his skill against nature, the man connecting, perchance, with a fighting fish, the two becoming one in the duel. I seldom eat fish anymore, catch and release being my personal policy, if only because I don't kill solely for pleasure. I have killed many fish in my time, but it's clear to me now that for the most part those days are fading. Much is fading, as I am slowly and painfully discovering on this leg of my journey.

I walked along the railroad tracks gazing at the river, many other rivers running through my mind as I did so, memories of wild beauty and calm. Those rivers flow through my mind even though today many of them have likely shifted and dried up and died on this earth from those places they were. But the flow continues somewhere, forever. I wanted to know about fish in the river, and I saw a young man who works for the railroad company and I called to him and asked about fishing. This is not, as I knew, a place of cutthroats, of sparkling trout. This is a land of Inca ruins and trains and locals working, so the man and I took a walk down the riverside and talked about rails and ruins, Manuel and me.

Another tired man, I had no need to tell him I am a stranger. Everybody knows. Manuel and I took a walk down the riverside by the tracks and he pointed out ruins there and a path across the water on the mountain side, part of this settlement built on steep slopes and the constant danger of falling. We looked at trains. At railroads that curled like smoke above his shoulder.

Maybe all things move and all things change; or maybe all this is illusion. I love the rocking and the swaying of the movement forward in the night, the surrounding darkness giving shelter like the womb or the perhaps the tomb, quiet and peaceful like a fish swimming in a river; like a man going nowhere.

In this valley of rivers and trains a man could reach for the sky only to surrender. There is nowhere else to go but onward. A stranger to Manuel, a man among trains by the river in a dark valley.


JoansEDUacct said...

Found very interesting as I'd been to MP in 1970 and it was amazing. We slept in the ruins and woke at dawn to walk about alone. Sorry to hear it isn't as calm. Guess I won't think about returning.JB

Dag said...

Hey, I´m sorry to be so tardy in replying. My mail isn´t being forwarded from my blog to my email address.

I have friends who were in Macchu Piccu decades ago as well, and it is because of that, their stories and pictures, as well as my own experiences with other places of great wonder around the world, that I expected more of the same at Macchu Piccu. Such was not to be for me.

But I would not have missed it even if I had known how let down I would be by all the hurly burly of the overlaid. I too was one of those thousands swarming the place, and I can´t claim they rather than I should have stayed home. It´s one of those things we live with.

I have ben blessed in this life to have been able to travel aound the worold to climb and scamper and sometimes just sit and gaze in awe at our fellows´greatness. That I had competition at Machu Piccu to the point I was deseperate to get away is too part of the experience in a long life time. I will piece it together when I have time to forget the miseries of the hordes. I can let it mingle with the good places uncrowded and will adopt the good into the good so it all becomes one.

It was obnoxous, but I did get a good climb and a day of someday calm reflection of wonder.

We are really lucky to have any chance to do this. I´m happy.