Thursday, May 22, 2008
The rainy season is threatening me. I am into rain as long as my bag isn't strapped to the top of a chicken bus. Basically rain gives me the excuse to be a bum, take naps, listen to the thunder and not be over ambitious about things like climbing volcanoes.
Somehow the rain doesn't always bail me out of dragging my sorry ass up creatively graded Nicaraguan trails which is how I found myself on the slopes of Maderas for a third time. I mean two volcano hikes in a week is just too much. Especially when one of them is advertised as an EXTREME hike. This is where my division one college athlete brainwashing gets to work and I am convinced that there is no such thing as too much athletic activity. Oh but there is, and one's calves are always happy to remind you of it, especially while running behind Norwegian athletic goddesses up Nicaraguan hills.
The benefit to all of this, besides feeling fully justified in eating a banana split, is that you are outside for things like sunsets on Ometepe, where the sky goes a purple blue, the platano trees turn an unreal green, and all of this is contrasted by a gold brown of dry season grass. Then throw some docile looking Brahma cows in for good measure, Concepción with the faintest scarf of clouds and you get a sense of what Ometepe is like at her best. Did I mention I was on a run so I didn't have my camera? That is just how it happens sometimes. I did have to stop at one point to take it all in and yell, "Jesus this is BEAUTIFUL!" And at moments like that you realize how insufficient words like beautiful are. Because the world is more than just beautiful, it is breathtaking and sublime.
Maybe that is what this post is about is the sublimeness of Central America. I don't think I understood that word until I saw Turner's paintings. He conveys that ridiculous beauty of nature that is so humbling for humans. I had the same feeling standing at Bear Paw on the edge of the Great Western Divide, we are tiny, just a small part of this huge pulsing seething mass of energy. I think the feeling of the sublime is what we are missing when we spend all our time locked up in cement cities sterilized by regulations and laws. But in a place like Nicaragua you never have the luxury of sterility, life is always in your face. And that humbling beauty that borders on terrifying asserts itself in the ribs of half starved horses, in the chaotic jumble of Granada's market, and in sunsets on Ometepe.