Chile Postcard

Yesterday stinking stinging sweat blind over an unrelenting sine wave of shoreline dirt, dense atmosphere hours: still, cloying, deaf. Left camp after 8am, pulled the plug at about 9pm with the sky plenty bright to set up and cook and drink some cheap burn whiskey. Flies kept me honest about breaks, maybe forty minutes in total, so a long hypnotic roll.

Contrast today. Morning blowing mercurial sideways, collecting greys, first pedal strokes to vanguard drops. Contemplate waiting, letting it grater through, but I can’t see an edge and I need to roll south by ever south. Soon slamming columns of downpour, punishment from above, on the short climbs winding it up so the jacket wets out on the inside, freezing crack snaps down the other side, I spar with this equilibrium a few rounds too long. Pacific fury waves bearing unpitying witness, cascade past the recovery point so shivering uncontrollably. Tuck into an abandoned shack, enough of its boards missing so that another one, its figure/ground counterpart, could have been built somewhere. There’s enough roof and windbreak, though. I stand dripping stupid paralytic for a span, hands finally articulable enough to strip naked and put dry clothes on, minutes and minutes of gritted teeth effort.

Sky clears. There are no distinctive landmarks to tell me where or that I am. Just wind that roars warning and a gravel road that roars under tires.