I encountered a barely recognizable trail that led through the steaming forest to the edge of the plateau, where cliffs of red limestone drop eight hundred meters. It was the mythical old trail of the Bandeirantes. (1) Some say it reaches north as far as the Amazon, others that it was originally built by the Incas and features sections made of large stones assembled with great precision. As I walked, the landscape became closed by thick mist. Immersed in the most blinding curtain of fog, I sat on the grass to wait for some kind of resolution. There I saw some flowers of a delicate presence that seemed almost celestial, as if they grew on the surface of clouds.
The wall enclosing the Paradise of the Brahmans was made of a solid purifying fog that rose vertically to infinity. Once you crossed it you were forever on the other side. Their Paradise was a forest full of flowers where happiness was nurtured in austerity and introspection. A site where reality is illusion and language a mirror. A game larger than life inside a maze with many paths but no choice, only chance outside the boundaries of reason and morale. A collective, heterogeneous and incomplete otherness. A world where the ghost of materiality is the other from within. The true without the false. That which cannot end because it had never begun.
By late afternoon I felt like a ghost, enraptured by the soothing and immaterial solitude of fog. The sky cleared and a rainbow announced the arrival of sunset. I walked east towards the rainbow followed by the rhythm of chanting frogs. When I made it to the road it was dark and the last bus had already passed. The tiny lights of the town, which looked nothing like Oz, shone far away at the end of my path.
1. Bandeirantes: In the 17th and 18th centuries these mercenaries traveled the length and breadth of Brazil in search of gold, diamonds, or natives, whom they sold as slaves. Their expeditions, known as entradas (entries) or bandieras (flags), enabled Westerners to extend the boundaries of the known world and discover the mines on which Portugal was to found her wealth.