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Golfo de Penas, Puerto Barroso

That's it, I'm fed up, irritated, physically hurt even.

The rain hasn't stopped and now the forest is so dense that there is really no passage through it any longer. We are sentenced to stay on board, our bodies aching for movement our heads crying for air, our souls drooling on the humid and dusty floor of Mardek.

We have passed the Golfo de Penas, a very dangerous passage if you happen to be in it when the weather's foul, but we chose our time and had no problems. The swell is huge there. The waves are formed just past Ushuaia, at the south-east tip of the continent and travel the whole world undisturbed by anything, to arrive with their thousands of miles momentum to the coast of Chile where they beat the mountains with wind and walls of water, disturbed in their continuous travel around the globe. The disturbance creates the incessant rains, the continuous punishment for anyone hanging around the violent encounter of the elements.

I was very exited at the idea of bathing in a natural hot water spring. First we visited a rock inhabited by thousands of cormorants and a few dozen seals then headed for the anchorage who promised us a well deserved hot water bath. The rain didn't stop pouring, so violently the bucket who never manages to fill up more than a poor 5 cm got filled up to the top in a half days? rain... We got dressed on the second day in the anchorage, packed our towels and soap in plastic bags and went off in the dinghy in search of the hot heaven. We get to the point described in the guide, land dinghy and feel the temperature in the smoky rivulet. Ouch, very hot, too hot, and smelling of unhealthy fart... We look around in the pouring rain, drenched to the bones already but quite exited by the promise of the bathing... And there it is, protected by the vegetation, a natural bath, just enough space for two, I put my hand in the water, hmmm warm but not too hot, we get undressed the wind making our skin shiver the raindrops telling us we're doing something very stupid. Hakan's in, the color of his skin is yellow in the coloured water, he smiles like a mischievous child. Me too, I want to be there, get out of my last clothes and get in next to him, ooohhhh de-li-cious, but my whole body doesn't enter, and the uncovered parts are being molested by the raindrops, the bottom of the bath is surprisingly soft and the thought of why it is that soft starts to scare me a little, some algae start floating over our skin. Whenever a piece of skin is out of the water it's very uncomfortable but we can't be in the water, completely covered at the same time, it soon appears we're in a bad situation, the movement of our bodies loosing up the soft surface, the water turning dangerously dirty, we're naked in there and outside it is worse, the fartsmell encountered in hot springs not helping, I?m in a catch 22 situation and finally chose for the unavoidable and after all less distressing of both choices, naked in the cold wind the freezing rain I jump wet in my wet clothes my wet boots, being nastily ironic about the beauties of the hot springs we drive back in a horrible gale from the nose. Today, even through irony I can't laugh much and so my back tenses up too much until I block something in it, some muscle very much needed when the ceiling is too low for me to stand up straight knots up and hurts me disgustingly. If you didn't know yet, the ceilings are too low on Mardek to stand up straight. Throughout the day I shift from one hurting position to another my spirit in free fall, cursing whatever passes through my mind.
I need movement! Badly! My body tensing up, my mind helping the fossilization. The rain diminishes a little and I get out to burn the trash, with a little kerosene to help me get over the overly wet wood. I'm a bit of a pyromaniac, and very cunning with fire. I understand the smoke and the flames and feed them what they ask me. I don't spare my hurting shoulder, I know that it's the worst I can do for it if I keep it unused. I pull out branches and fine wood, pile up a well balanced heap of trash and wood, sprinkle some kerosene on top, light it, stand back and watch the inferno begin. I stay around to watch the fire's needs, the wind is fierce and comes from all directions with no pattern just noisily announcing the coming gusts. There's a seal in the water, I watch it wondering if the dinghy is not in danger. Seals are known to attack them and ours is half in the water. While I ponder on the question the wind comes in and blows a flame in my face. I just manage to close my eyes before it hits me full on, jump back and smell burnt hair... My hair! Is it my eyelashes? My eyebrows? My hair still seems in place, and the smell isn't strong, lets hope it's not too bad. The tide is rising and closing me in, I board dinghy and get back on Mardek, don't see what hair was burnt, everything seems to be there. The little movement has done me no good...
"Go and meditate'' Hakan orders me. Like a dog I obey, knowing that he's right, that it's my sole solution, I pile up pillows and sit on them in the only possible place on board, under the hatch on the bed. And off I go.

I have a pretty strong spirit, I know quite well how my mind functions and have plenty of tricks to keep me going but when I run out of tricks invariably somewhere in my back or neck something will block. Invariably as well the pain will infuriate me, like a knife in my flesh showing me I haven't managed to stay on top, master of my emotions. I have failed, to face my life and now the invisible but very present knife punishing me through the opening my mind could not cover.

Pain, I know a lot about pain. I know about it because I have watched it torture me, I have watched it evolve, concentrate, move around. I have felt it throb, pull, squeeze. I have felt it intensify until I thought my body would explode and then I saw it disappear the very next minute. I have studied pain and resisted it, then gave in to its calling, I went to the core of it and saw with my senses clean, that pain is nothing but energy, blocked energy, pulsing energy. I was thought that pain, is nothing but pain, it will come and then it will go, following the universal law of impermanence. I should not let it dictate my emotions but then I know that it comes when I'm not on top of those very emotions. Pain and illness arises when I leave an opening, and it infuriates me... which is not the right way to lose the pain... I know what pain is, I know how to deal with it, but unfortunately, I?m not as wise as to instantly accept its coming. I still put resistance... the very resistance that blocks the energy and creates the pain. You see, knowing something and understanding it isn't enough. It is good, it definitely helps, but still, I lose myself in its traps...

07.03.2005

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