Cloud riding but the land seems already halfway there in Portugal, already an equilibrium of greens, dust, blue.
Juxtapositions are a unexpected source of warmth and attentiveness. Kilometers of rolling dirt paths between farmhouses, images of an idyllic shire in mist gusting half light, and then a heap of rusting military vehicles, abandoned at a crossroads like children’s toys.
Into the countryside, we’ll link spomeniks while harassed by sheets of rain that turn the track into mud and leave us shivering wrapped in grey. Unphotographed moments that have now only retrospexistence, which can often be truer.
The Spomeniks of former Yugoslavia are future thinking, political, and mnemonic. They are notable in how their materiality achieves spirituality. To me they have a powerful beauty and they continue to speak even as they decay and are in many cases neglected.
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.
Leaves and moss and sucking bogs and wind, the grey that cracks to sunshine and then the mosquitoes that figure 8 curve back and again on me, the tannic rivers and the suggestion if not reality of cold, ambient glow at 3am
I can’t hear what my companions are saying unless they’re up close. The hiss and knock of the drops on the gore tex whirlpool sucks all of our shouts down, and then the cold slows the light itself.
Edgeless days, us and the sky forward. Tonight we’ll belt mouthfuls of Jameson from a .5l plastic bladder that I refill at the wine monopoly government liquor stores in the bigger towns a week apart, but not if we’ve rolled through late. And the talk wanders, floats on thermals from our camaraderie.
The settling serenity is that it’s lost the instant after it comes. What’s left is analog, elemental substance: brown bog grasses, hillocks, snowpatches, refracting droplets, stone.