Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gabo's Banyan

As I was in the taxi back from the Santa Marta bus station, meandering through traffic, I was chatting with the taxi driver about visiting Gabo's house.  He asked me if: el valor era mas que la pena (if the value was worth more than pain; was it worthwhile?).  I laughed out loud because I had been wondering this morning if would be.  I had left Cartagena early, and had been kicking myself for leaving paradise prematurely.  And yet, as I shared with him the experience, I laughed and said that the value was far more than the pain:

I had traveled down from Santa Marta to Aracataca by bus to Aracataca.  To Macondo by other names, if more had come out to vote for it.

I walked through the hot, dusty town to the house of Gabo's birthplace.  The old home of Col. Garcia, his abuelo.  It was a world of Gabo.  Latticed chairs and old wooden desks used by the Colonel.  Old tables, beds and chairs that looked straight out of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Then I saw it.

An ancient banyan tree covered in giant yellow butterflies.  The ageless banyan bore spindly long branches infinitely into the ground.  Like an alien lair.  It dangled large heavy moss hangings.

And ever so slowly the leaves would fall from high above.  I sat on a rock, taking in the tree and its splindly grace.  With deft concentration, I caught a leaf falling to the ground.  An audience of one saw my handiwork with a smile.

I could have happily watched leaves slowly fall to the earth from under a banyan.  Play leaf catcher under Marquez' banyan for eternity.

In a yellowing world, a butterfly the size of two hands fluttered by.

I even used my notebook to catch falling leaves--I think Gabo would have smiled at that.

Dark lizards slinked through the spindles of banyan roots.

-¿Te sientes mal? 
-le preguntó. Remedios, la bella, que tenía agarrada la sábana por el otro extremo, hizo una sonrisa de lástima. 

 -Al contrario -dijo-, nunca me he sentido mejor.

Acabó de decirlo, cuando Fernanda sintió que un delicado viento de luz le arrancó las sábanas de las manos y las desplegó en toda su amplitud. Amaranta sintió un temblor misterioso en los encajes de sus pollerines y trató de agarrarse de la sábana para no caer, en el instante en que Remedios, la bella, empezaba a elevarse.


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