Both sides of the road: sugar cane with the implied orderliness of straight pole posture and with an alleyway between stands every 300 meters. Picture the checkerboard from above. Pull off the dirt track and contemplate a stalk, there’s an insistent but evasive recollection until I’m twisting it to break the strands, now a couple of pieces that I bite to peel the tough outer part off. Hand one to Daniel and we start chewing like kids, I chew like the kid I was when my father handed me some on a visit to the town he grew up in in Puerto Rico. Gritty sweet, grinning the sugarcane between our teeth, off to catch up to the others.
Pedaling hard but it feels like coasting, crack and knurl of pavement that they’ve just given up on and is now crumble, some hours I concentratedly slalom through, some hours I just point and jackhammer. Or it’s bona fide dirt and I can see the dried tick marks of farm equipment tire edges, a regularity, a textural metronome that I keep at the edge of my vision and yield to until I’m only breath and revolutions. Likewise 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.
Can feel noon on my shoulders, we accelerate to ride alongside a trio of farmhands heading home for lunch. They nod straw hats and ballcaps, somehow achieving an eviable cadence both purposeful and without urgency, so it is all around us. One might in a colossal mistake have thought to skip here, its tilt free, its linearity, ungilt. I’ll remember it again and very in its static honesty, all notable things, all the high heights we’ll have, they exist in a substrate background from which they inherit their sublime density, and this is Cuba’s.