In Japan we followed roads in the densest cities with glinting rolling boxes and chirping screens and orderly crosswalks as if from a polished wood future, roads swaying up peaks into greys greens with pavement glinting from recent or hinting rains, some roads that are hardly intact anymore, forlorn tracks between trees.
We’ll visit some sites from tour and guidebooks, mostly we’ll be breath slowing across landscapes to find less insistent beauty, the beauty in the ordinary things in their ordinary state.
Everywhere is in our imagination before we go and even after, but Japan unusually so. Landscapes outside of temporal location, in the city it’s dense quiet incandescent tidy shoulder to shoulder bullet train shoe fall spider web of communication lines vending machines shrines at the foot of glass sheen. We’ll try incompetent noodle slurp, we’ll drink beer with men with loosened collars and identical sloppy knot black ties, we’ll stand quizzically in front of blinking lights for some sort of tawdry robot show.
Tasmania registers a conceptual far away, even to the Aussies among us. Sparse like a poem with just a few words on each line, gappy typesetting the distances over open spaces .
The syllables of the word Tasmania stretch across the space in my consciousness, resonant with being a little kid watching cartoons and knowing only that it’s far. But now here it’s an unexpected closeness.
Rolling waves and roads coastline, we’ll see the ocean overflowing any sensible sensory scale and will get blown sideways across the yellow line on Cadillac Mountain.
Those next days headed toward Sjeverni National Park, startlingly dry, a concrete impacted heat, leaves us heaving into noons. Well above the sea and the E65, we don’t see anyone for twenty hours. As if we’re pedaling against a static painting, pebbly grit, haze chalk green.
Pinball bounding bouncing rock to rock and from the edge of your vision you can see see where the stone fences have collapsed to haphazard return to the track. Snapping twigs and leaf shush, our arms raked by thorns. Heat concentrated into a clearing, dive past the perimeter again.
In a month we find no singular place that is Cuba, instead fractal shards where every deeper shape contradicts the emergent ones. It astonishes us every day, we’re breathless in its self aware narrative.
Our route has been a broken meander on the smallest back lanes, cow paths, stony clusterfucked hike-a-bikes, with a dose of wading and lifting sweat skin biting fly swatting. Naturally, we’re having a splendid, demented time.
The identity of this place is that it is nowhere, towns that we will inertia through when we need to, but the network of agricultural tracks horizons into midmorning heat and we don’t have to intersect anything else.
In the thick experience of movement and days, in the backroads dust and the chest pressing heat, in the hundred laughter cheek kiss embrace conversations we have, it’s there that the void gets filled, making me ride grinning at how close it was.