A few days before last year’s December Solstice—just preceding a flight to Cordoba, Argentina—I had finished drafting My Thoughts Inexactly ~In Exactness~ S is for Solstice, and set it to publish on the December 21, 2017 solstice time of 11:27 EST (the time of the exact event being 13:27:50 in Chilean Time, where solar noon would be).
Realizing how dangerous my journey might be (and simultaneously not at all Realizing it), I included one of my boldest declarations in case I did not return, which prophetically had come to me in the waxing of the previous winter solstice on December 20th, 2016, with full blown solstice insomnia, whereby I declared “Be a Goddamning animal”. And in recognition of the insanity I was embarking upon, and that I knew I had to go and that I might very well die, I ended the series of aphorisms with acceptance: “And so I die…” It almost proved itself…
My mission (several months later described to me by an elder as my “Vision Quest”) was to get to the inflection subsolar point on the Tropic Of Capricorn where it was solar noon at the moment of the solstice. This is only one of two zenith points every year that the sun does not cross, but rather kisses; the other zenith being somewhere on the Tropic Of Cancer. The years that it falls on land in the southern hemisphere is a stark minority, and
very rare to fall on Chile—one out of every 107 years on average—one of the narrowest countries in terms of ratio in the whole world; and not coincidentally (so I now believe most especially) the land of Pedro Pascal, the actor who brings to life my prominent fictional hero Oberyn Martell and whose shirt I wore at bottom layer for defiant strength on that fateful day.
Enter the Desierto
A few days later and several thousand miles, now in San Pedro de Atacama on the night of December 20th—after a mad scramble from Argentina up and over to the Atacama region of Chile and a long exhausting day trying to find a ride up the desert “ramp” plateau for the next morning and then a wandering altitude acclimation near Volcán Licancabur—I found myself in my lodging for the night in great distress over my next day’s seemingly-impossible journey, and was acutely uneasy about leaving the ending aphorism “and so I die”. I decided to log in to Subverses and after some debate deleted the aphorism, knowing (and not knowing) that I had the choice whether or not to fate myself to death.
“Today Is Not The Day I Die”
The next day—the day I successfully avoided an Unexploded Ordnance left over from Pinochet, the day I almost died from heat stroke, the day I almost died from lack of atmosphere and altitude sickness, the day I almost died from despair in the face of extreme concentrated solar energy, the day I almost died from 12 tornadoes, the night I almost died from exposure to extreme cold—I kept saying to myself “Today is not the day I die” (Oberyn’s last words to his paramour) and at night, OTHERS pitched in and started saying this for me, carrying and caring for me. The Universe conspired to keep me alive, and I affirmed to myself that I am just as important a part in determining the course of the Universe as any other.
*That day, one of the most common points of reference for me, was too look to my west and try and see volcán Láscar (pictured at top) and those in its chain, remembering the unique community I was a part of. These images are burned in to my mind.
**There is so much more to say and note, but this is not the place for it. This was merely a place for me to recall the un-fateful writings and epitaphs I tempted in the leading and following through with my vision quest.