I saw a post by a friend I knew from my youth in Venezuela, someone I always associate with the color yellow- yellow hair, yellow shorts, softly mellow in countenance. The post was about a helicopter crash, small and not tragic, atop Auyán Tepui in Venezuela. It was about a foreign service agent and a writer. I started to read the post and was flattened with longing for this country we knew.
I’ve had years of longing for Venezuela before, but not like this. I know at once the scorch of the air. I can feel the humus of red clay under my feet. I can see and heft the rocks bejeweled in mica, gold and silver everywhere. There is the scratch of Monte against my face, my bare arms. There are the mountains, slippery purple and rooted in scrub. There is the tang of mangos, and flies upon the rotting pulp. All the insects are powerful, all the beaches soft. The colors shout in vivid splendor, colors that are only occasional in other places I’ve been. This is because the saturation is never interrupted. And there I am in this wild and certain place, young and naive, in my t-shirt and shorts, trusting life so completely.
I wonder if what I long for, truly, is to trust in life again, to revel in the breath that binds us together. I wonder if it’s something different, something crass, like a desire for arrogant privilege. I don’t think it’s a yearning to return to my youth. I never want to relive those follies. But maybe it is neither. Maybe it is a longing not to be afraid of death and the death that is piling up around us. Maybe it is a yearning for certainty and hope amidst the crack of rigid minds.
For now, I will try to stand on my head so things will make sense.