Archive for the Disneyland Category

The History of Time Part II or Are There Straight Lines on Merry-Go-Rounds?

Posted in Amazon, Army Ants, Boeing 737, Disneyland, Uncategorized on January 19, 2012 by smpiv

Gots to write.

Gots to write something.

My mind has been racing; jumping; not sure what.

Keep having these notions about time.  Is it linear?  Maleable?  Foldable?

When I write stuff it’s like a photograph.  I capture a moment—well a bunch of moments that unfolded in a linear fashion.

My most fallible mind compressed the stream and discarded the extraneous to leave me with the nugget.

Yet when I put the nugget between my fingers and move it about it unfolds again.  It gives back a lot of the extraneous.  Not all of it by a long shot, but a good bit.

So is there a nugget for this particular exercise?

Let’s start with a boat ride.

I’ve been on innumerable boat rides.  Sail boat rides, motor boat rides and even a large coal ship-ship-ride.

Let’s toss in green.

Green water?  Green trees?  A green boat?

Green trees, yes, green trees.

This particular boat ride lasted about three hours at about forty miles an hour.  We passed (two boats with about twenty people) what can only be described as a barge, moving very slowly relative to us.  As we moved from our debarkation point we passed a small freighter that was heeled over on a sandbar as it waited for the river to rise again.

The Amazon.

That’s the river, the body of water we are on.  Debris is everywhere.  Sticks, logs, stripped ones, bushy ones.

As we left our debarkation point we left a human island and made our way away from people.  Maybe five minutes, maybe a little longer and people are gone.  Another couple of barges the only evidence that we aren’t alone.

It’s been about twelve hours of travel time since we left DC to this point and about two days of in between to get to this point.

Not long ago it would have taken us a couple of weeks to get to this point.  Well, you know, without airplanes.

Yet here we are with the distinctive sound of two Merc outboards shoving us farther away from people than I’ve ever been.  That distinctive oil-mixture smell mixing with the ozone.  A pleasant aroma from my childhood.

Smell, aromas, those weird scents that seem to sooth with their collection of memories stored in aerosol form.  And, yes, manure is one of those soothing smells for me.  Ranchers, pastures, 4-H steers, and fresh chicken.

But I wander.

Three hours later we are there.  There where we will be for two weeks.  After that it will be back to Lima and then off to Machu Picchu where time has stood still and where we will be for several days.

Again I wander.

We arrive to a spot in the jungle that is elevated on stilts.  A spot that is elevated from a continuously dropping river—it won’t start to come back up for another couple of months.  It will drop another six feet while we’re there.

Dugouts line the bank beside our two fiberglass anomalies.  I didn’t take a dugout ride, don’t know why.

So fifteen hours of travel and we are in a primordial forest with strange noises, geckoes, tarantulas, army ants, and lots of green leafy stuff.  For anyone that’s been on the jungle ride at Disneyland, well you are there.

Shaman.  There was a shaman there.  A very nice guy.  Excellent English with an excellent eye roll for those that thought he was beyond mystical.

He was also an excellent soccer player.  Played with him and several others.  Forgetting my cleats, I played in bare feet.  Our shaman arrived in full soccer duds.  Red and white and cleats.

Our field was hacked out of the jungle.

The jungle towered over us allowing the sun to dapple us here and there.  The first ball I retrieved focused my reality.  I was in the middle of nowhere, miles, hours and days away from what I knew.

There were no neatly sited suburban houses surrounding our playing field—just miles of jungle.  And me in bare feet.

I had played soccer in an English prison years before and there was something oddly similar to the two.  In the jungle it was distance that closed you in; in the prison it was time that closed you in.

Army ants.  I mentioned them earlier.  One week into our stay the entire jungle began to rustle, and rustle some more.

“Lift your feet,” we were warned.

As we did thousands, millions, trillions, lots, of ants made their way through the lodge eating anything in their way.  When they left the lodge was spotless.

Now here’s the conundrum—do they move in a straight line and just keep going until they, well, vanish.  Or do they move in a loop and continuously move while birthing, living and dying relieved by family or strangers?

They rustled through in less than ten minutes.

We rustled through in two weeks. We got on the motor boats back to Iquitos and in three hours we were back.

Back onto one of Boeings original 737s, over the Andes to Lima.  Onto an Airbus for Miami and finally a DC-9 into DC.  Back to the order of the American cosmopolitan, to our own water and trees.

So there you have it—a nugget mined from the depths of my memory interspersed with odd little details from the trip and odd little details pulled from the odd little details of the trip.

So is time linear?

You tell me.

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