A Forest of Water and Ink

In the afternoon I went to Helio's house in Jamacá but there was nobody there. His house is in a patch of forest in the Chapada dos Guimarães plateau. Laying down on his porch hammock I watched the slow arrival of clouds enter the forest, changing the appearance of all things. Visibility diminished. Everything became wet. Though darkness prevailed, by moments transient light broke through with dazzling whiteness. As I rose to walk in the forest, all color became muted. Some leaves turned pale, nearly translucent; others, now scintillating mirrors, flashed blinking light in all directions. The animals, birds and insects had all vanished, as if swallowed by the reigning silence. Steaming whiteness moved through everything, contrasting with the coarse, dark silhouettes of soaring tree trunks, suspending their twisted branches in a maze of inextricable tangled knots. Intermittently, as if cut from their surroundings, parts of trees and branches appeared, isolated, before a blinding white backdrop, while others vanished, absorbed by the emptiness of a dreamscape where things cease to exist as if magically erased. This gap, literally a blank space in between things, acted as a half-opened gate into a rapturous otherness. 

I had witnessed a fluid world in which everything is defined by the immediacy of lines, strokes, smudges; a place where form dissolves in whiteness or is absorbed by masses of black ink. The expansive changing scenario resembled an ancient scroll painting by a Zen master. A landscape in the making in which the soaked brush interprets the random chaos of the material world in capriciously accurate gestures. The scenery of nature erased by a cruel and heavenly order of the highest power.

When I returned Helio had already arrived. He made sweet lemon grass tea with leaves he picked in the yard. We sat and drank in silence as clouds kept passing by.