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Palomino: A True Story

Sunrise, I crawl out of the mosquito net and go to the beach. The ocean is still calm, the only moment of the day it is. In my back enthroned and powerful La Sierra with her snowy peaks, so close, almost in my reach it seems. She is one of the highest coastal ranges on the planet. The Kogi people, who live there, call her the heart of the Earth. No doubt that there is something about that mountain; magical, mystical, divine, omnipotent. It is only in the early morning you can see the Sierra in her full glory and beauty because soon the clouds will come and cover her secret, the snowy peaks again.

These mountains have a powerful magnetism. I am drawn to go there one day. Not now. I am not ready. The Sierra will call me when the time has come. The only way to protect this sacred place and the Kogi culture from impure hearts and minds is not to go. There are already too many tourists going. Not yet to the peaks though because only shamans are allowed to.

I turn around to the ocean. The beach is so wild and unique like nothing I have ever seen before. I have no words for it. Deserted, you don’t see anyone for days, occasionally a Kogi collecting shells or a fisherman on a boat. The sand is golden and then it has small black parts, like almost blueish stripes. I wonder if there is a volcano underneath somewhere. Palm trees are falling because the ocean comes closer and closer each day. It has taken a lot from the beach already in the two month I have been here.

I enjoy this golden hour in the morning, everything is so peaceful and quiet. I go into the ocean. It’s my meditation. How will this day be, what surprises are waiting for me today? Everything is a surprise here and everyday it’s new. I spend at least two hours on the beach I call my temple, on my own, walking, watching the waves, listening to the ocean, it knows everything, greeting the pelicans passing by, sometimes in huge formations. There must be hundreds of them each day. They are my universal messengers to tell me the news. Sometimes I spread my wings and fly with them.

At some point I go to the river that comes from the holy peaks of the Sierra down to the ocean. The water is soft and clear with golden sparkles. We use it as drinking water. What a luxury to drink water from a river without getting poisoned! That’s insane isn’t it, to call that a luxury. What would a Kogi say? They would say it’s the most natural thing to do. It shows how degenerated humanity has become, that being able to drink river water is rare, a luxury.

Charlie the howler monkey and my soulmate, is sitting on my shoulder. Valimai the dog, is with us. Rodrigo the parrot and a little bastard, he bit me, is whistling above our heads somewhere. If I could stop the wheel of time of the three- dimensional world, I would do it right now. This is all I need!

Back in the house cleaning, washing dishes, sweeping. You must keep it clean in the tropics, everything putrefies within minutes – the transitoriness of the material world. In the afternoon I go back to the beach and into the water, you can’t go swimming. The ocean is too wild, the currents too strong. I am collecting the garbage the ocean washes ashore, human garbage, mostly plastic, to keep the temple clean. I am also collecting wood to make fire. The gas we use to cook with ran out I don’t know how many weeks ago. We ordered some but as usual in Latin America, mañana, mañana. Whatever, that’s fine with me. I prefer making fire anyway. I love the magic of it! I love to watch it burn and lose myself in the flames. Charlie loves it, too, so we sit together.

In the house, I read or listen to music on my Walkman. For the most part there is no need because of the natural orchestra of insects and birds mixed with the sound of the waves. No electricity because we are in the middle of nowhere, no neighbors, the next village is about a half hour walk. Only palm trees, a tiny little house with an open-air bathroom, a well, an improvised kitchen, a terrace, hammocks, beach, the ocean, the Sierra… a paradise, my paradise. The most important and most beautiful moment of the day is the sunset. What a spectacle of forms and colors! What energy! The power of twilight zones. My happiest moment! And all that every day again and again. It’s here and then I decide I will be a sunset designer when I leave this body and return to source again.

A couple hours later, I go to bed and close the mosquito net tightly. Soon Charlie shows up and finds her way into the net. She nestles into my armpit, and we fall asleep. She does that every night.

Years later, the ocean has almost taken it all. I am glad she did. Now the paradise is safe. I will always carry you in my heart and soul. The only thing I have to do is close my eyes and I am with you. No words can ever express what you have done for me. I am forever grateful.

P.s. Charlie went back to the wild and so did I.