Sunday, June 19, 2016

Carpe Diem in La Valle De La Luna (Atacama Desert, Chile)

Wake just before 8 AM makes for four hours of sleep. Stuff a few things in my small backpack, have breakfast, rent a bike, pedaling around exploring the rugged area for two and a half hours. Cycle through a dark tunnel to the bright white light on the other side, go to the light, go to the light. 
go towards the light (second time I went through tunnel)

I sit, gazing at the arid, rugged scenery. One can taste the palpable silence, my body electrified as the mind stills. Suddenly I feel so present. I begin to meditate, awakened out of the silence by a thought of gratitude, I concentrate on how lucky I am to be able to be here, for all the people in my life I’ve served and who in turn have helped me. 
I hurry back to town for an afternoon appointment, riding my mountain bike down a steep, rocky trail which takes all my concentration to stay vertical, avoiding the large stones hurtling towards me, attempting to upend me.
I dine with my Brazilian friend, and soon after we take our bikes in the opposite direction, riding down the empty Chilean highway til we reach Valle De La Luna. The otherworldly landscapes are stunning, with the ability to paralyze thought, awakening a sense of awe which knows no words. 
Valle de La Luna- not snow, but rather salt
Valle de La Luna- not snow, but rather salt

Sitting there, absorbing the alien planet, moving slowly from site to site, thought becomes paralyzed. 
We slowly ride our bikes towards Coyote Rock to see the sunset. It’s not so much the steep climb as much as the narrow highway road with sharp curves ahead that deters us; it reminds me of a near fatal mistake I almost made on a bicycle in Vancouver. Best to trust the instinct. 
We return to the Old West like adobe town of San Pedro de Atacama. I head out to grab some dinner, and see a girl dining alone. We start talking about our adventures, and enjoy each other’s company for an hour. Not only is she smart with a kind heart, she’s also beautiful. The conversation sparkles, as has the fullness day. 

While the Space Tour where we would see the stars and constellations from some of the most powerful telescopes in the world was cancelled for the fourth straight night (unlucky considering clear skies over 300 days a year) it gives me a moment to reflect on the fullness of the day. Suck the marrow of life from the bones of the day, and do the same tomorrow. Carpe Diem

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