The Incarnated Word

The dark calling of the owls reaching from outside rumbled inside the room like an omen from another world. The rain had stopped. A clean steam raising from the earth carried the distinct scent of the rainforest and invited me out. Seating on the bed, I could not recognize the furniture or the orientation of the room. The high trees at the back of the posada led into an immense forest. In the dim light I recognized a dark jungle, dense and difficult, whose immensity even in memory renews my fear.

Eager to see from within that divine forest, so dense and alive, which tempered in my eyes the light of the new day, I slowly walked into the field treading upon a red earth the odor of whose leaves bewildered my senses. Following my steps, the birds on the treetops awakened to welcome the day with happy songs. A breeze gently caressed my forehead when I emerged onto the bank of a river of the purest water that nothing hides, even when shade darkens its course. I followed its bed upstream in the light of the rising sun to a very high waterfall whose waters spread into the air as if eternally baptizing the exuberant vegetation of the jungle.

Entering the thick forest, I came upon a red parrot perched on a tree of white flowers, like the one painted by Rubens. On the ground an army of insects sped to its tasks on fresh, tender leaves. An armadillo dug up a hole making its best to ignore my presence. In the whistling of a distant branch shaken by the wind, I had a hint of a logical order in proportion to the form, distribution, and weight of each leaf, and the flexibility of each leaf's stem. It made me ponder the consonance of creation orchestrated through the sensations that simultaneously reached my senses.

I came to a clearing that opened onto high pastures and palm groves where I saw the sacred mountain shining under the sun. The word had become flesh; there it was the Garden of Eden.

I found a lake of turquoise water inside an immense cavern carved in the slope of the mountain. Sound crystalized there just as in the gardens of the Alhambra, where the soft murmur of the fountains offers an awareness of silence more intense than silence itself. Drifting in the peaceful water I realized that, until then, all that had happened to me was of no importance. Life is renewed in each gesture, just as light randomly shifts its reflections on the surface of water. Leaving the cavern I felt transformed. Words were irrelevant.

In the afternoon I returned to the posada. The owner, a Portuguese man, served me a generous portion of chicken with rice. I ate in silence, surrounded by dogs eagerly hoping for a bone from my plate. A woman anxiously smoked under the porch while some neighbors stripped to the waist worked on a motorcycle. The light of Velázquez flooded the afternoon with its warmth as the world became silently grasped by furtive glances, framed by contrasts, textures, and palpable forms.