Other Incidents of Travel in Yucatan

Mr. Catherwood could not take it any longer. The heat was murderous, the blue was very very blue, the sky was the house of iguanas said the woman with the bluish face, they had sighted a great many blue iguanas in the last few days, he had not been able to get their blank stare out of his head for some time, Mr. Stephens’s topcoat was blue and its flash guided him when lagging behind in the underbrush, there was a loud humming noise and the sound of laughter, stones were made of sand, leaves were dry underfoot, the skin of the naked boy running ahead of him appeared iridescent, flies buzzed furiously, at the last Indian homestead they met the lady that sold fruit, Mr. S. was too tired to ask what kind, he had to guess, she was assisted by a letcherous dwarf that raised the pieces of fruit one by one for his consideration, the smell was cloying and the flies swarmed, sheeny and blue, the flesh and the fruit had come together in the form of a single question, and Mr. C., said nothing, sensing the key to the riddle they were pursuing resided in the approaching contact of Mr. S.’s vacillating hand with that inscrutable offering.

The sunlight is blinding. The little blue girl cries under the skirt of the fruit vendor, trapped between her ankles, Mr. S. mops the sweat from his feverish brow, his hat has rolled to the ground like an open mouth, the bellows of the camera hangs obscenely, seemingly ready to rise up and guide the gaze to capture the ultimate sight to behold, to penetrate the enigma that is within everyone’s grasp, the homestead is now a limestone platform commanding the hidden, colossal city in ruins, the guides are busy clearing the brush with their machetes but underneath there is already a shimmering, murky zone starting to open, Mr. C. feels his eyes close and lets himself slide to the ground, his draughtsman’s portfolio flies open, scattering the sheets where he has faithfully copied the indecipherable glyphs, his face turned up to the burning blue sky, the ground welcomes him with the whispy rustle of a peacock feather, the dark-skinned porters unsurprised to see him rise again Phoenix-like as a boy, as a father, dreaming in death the ritual that has accompanied their travels, shadowing it like a wild animal in the underbrush or a river flowing underground, the ritual of erecting the greased pole emblazoned with the children of color that slide off the stone surfaces, the children that are lines and pebbles and seeds and vines and snakes that are in turn the Rosetta stone of the glyphs, the children weave themselves and rise to elevate the posessed Mother, her arched body in a trance, the source of the snakes that slither among the cracks of the stones and enter the flesh of the earth, not unlike the ancient cocks of stone that they had seen in the patios of the farmhouses, that Mr. C. had absent-mindedly touched -perhaps it was then that the wave of opacity that was now culminating in his rebirth had started-. He sees Mr. S. drunk and half-clad, discharging his rifle at the air in an attempt to orchestrate the disorderly line of excited men, both old and young, awaiting the turn to pole-vault among laughter and hoarse cries. The females bringing loads of fruit and children, their breasts slathered in aloe sap to ween their offspring, -cheeks flushed with expectation and desire as they observe the prowess doomed to failure, knowing well the fall of the erect penis cannot be dissociated from the effort of elevating it to that state-, carry their own cross and lower it into the ground. The hand of Mr. S. inches close to the oracular fruit of flesh, a running man builds momentum to sink his pole in the earth and vault to climax, Mr. C. wakes to the bitter taste of sap in his mouth, he is now ready to start drawing anew.