Red cloud


Loneliness is glaring obviousness. It is a natural way of moving away from illusion. It is awareness of illusion and a natural rejection of any illusion whatsoever. It is like facing a black hole. It is the horror, and liberation from the horror. It is the tunnel to life. Edward Stachura

I decided to rest for a while in Caleta Olivia. I was on my last legs. I woke up in the morning, unable to get up. As if something crushed me to the ground. I lay on my back and felt a sort of strange form on my belly, too heavy to get rid of. I was able to move my arms and legs. The head seemed to be fine, too. I turned around and spat some red-green phlegm, which was accumulated overnight. I looked at the dense liquid. Definitely far too much red. Well, today, I would not go any further, I thought, and as soon as I got over a bit and was able to get up without Moomins’ help, I took my stuff down and went to the hostel. I spent one night there and then I came back to my previous lair to pitch my tent in the vicinity of the gas station.

Tonight I will be off again, I feel a little better. I’m itching for the road. It will be the night of the full moon. There will be another ostriches, guanacos, rabbits, and who knows, maybe under a huge, red cloud I will run into an armadillo. Or it will run into me. As it happened a few days ago, when a strange creature sniffed me when I was dozing off in the evening, after eating an enormous amount of not exactly fresh hot dogs (please, do not worry, I still have dough for chops, but it’s not so easy to buy them in the middle of nowhere).

So, I was dozing off in the cairn of stones – high enough to offer a saving shade and to protect me against strong winds, when something soft smacked my cheek. Not quite awaken, I waved my hand, thinking that it was just an irritating fly, but I touched something far greater and far more substantial than a green abdomen of an entomic comrade. I got up immediately. A big armadillo was running away. Maybe it took me for carrion, or a snake, it’s hard to say. Anyway, as soon as I moved, its desire to deepen our superficial acquaintance apparently passed away, and the creature decided to flee to its burrow.

I took my camera and ran after the fleeing animal. It disappeared out of sight. I was looking for it a long time, maybe fifteen minutes, maybe longer, and finally I found it close to its den. I lay down in front of it and waited. The sun was sinking towards the horizon. I was looking at a playful, vibrant snout. The armadillo came closer, it was almost a few inches away from me. It was glancing, waving its tail, sniffing something in the air. Maybe it wanted to capture my scent, maybe it was that scent, which intrigued the animal, or maybe something completely different, it’s hard to say. After all, armadillos do not need anyone to be happy. They live alone.

So, I was looking at that dancing creature, watching as it rotated. I stared at its strangely transparent claws, its vibrant snout, that mating dance, performed only for one spectator. I could not get over all that magic. The air was heavy with the approaching ghosts, while the armadillo was trotting, sniffing, twitching in a rhythm of silently stamping sounds, inaudible to anyone but itself. I cycled both Americas just to see a dancing, hairy armadillo.

The sun finally hid behind the horizon, and the blue clouds gathering above us turned into red. And it seemed to me that the armadillo also began to change its color and that it was not moving, but just stared at me, as if it had wanted to tell me something which could not be expressed by its dance. If god is who you feel, he’ll slowly disappear into the red cloud.

Finally, It got completely dark, the armadillo disappeared in its burrow, but I could not get up. I could not move and preferably I would crawl into the burrow to touch the creature’s snout, to curl up and go to sleep.

I was lying there until I was cold. Then, I put up my tent under a canopy of twinkling stars. And when I was falling asleep, just a moment before I welcomed new, nightly dreams, it seemed to me, that among the rustlings of the tent, quietly flapping in a soothing wind, I caught the whisper of unintelligible sounds. The sounds, which some hairy armadillos tried to sing in their desperate dance. Silently and in fact – vainly. Because neither the melody of that song nor the meaning of its words is understandable any more. Unless for a dreamy armadillo. Under a canopy of red clouds.

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