Returning

Hello and greetings.  A three month or so break seemed like fun, didn’t it?

But too bad for you, since I’ve already loaded up an update to be posted in a few hours!

When I started this thing about a year ago on my facebook feed, I planned to go for about a year, but being on hiatus and starting the blogs has changed that.  It’s still mostly on track for how I would like it length-wise, so onward!

Such fun!

Tell your friends about the facebook page for updates at https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Heart-of-the-World/805072909577797,

or about the site and sign up for e-mail notices from aheartoftheworld.net

Cheers.

 

Doing

Yay, the official site is live!

http://aheartoftheworld.net

It has been for a while, just ironing out kinks, seeing what I can add now that I’m not on wordpress official.  First things first, the facebook page! Like and share with readery friends.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Heart-of-the-World/805072909577797

There’s also an email subscription link at the page bottom!  And other neat things.

I’m looking into posting to both this and the old blog site as well.  And a return to normal posting soon.

Other things:

-my time was taken up by a side project, http://pulpandfiction.aheartoftheworld.net, which is a bunch of jokes for movie/book nerds.

-this may get moved in future to make this my portfolio site, but I’ll let y’all know.

Onward!

Moving

Aw yes, blog.aheartoftheworld.net is mostly functional!

I’ll be making a few more changes, and then the blog will move spaces to that domain!  I’ll make one last post here notifying once everything is in place.

Meanwhile, there might be something terribly nerdy and jokey lurking at pulpandfiction.aheartoftheworld.net…

Springing

No update this Sunday, because I’m going to be busy with the holiday and prepping something on another project.  Excitement!

Also, going to expand this thing some more with more sites posted to, an fbook page, that sort of thing.

Enjoy yourselves this weekend, stay true.

Part 47

The three locals (I really want to say ‘amigos,’ but I won’t) laughed as my breath caught in my throat.

Usually when I see something grandiose or amazing or am surprised in a good way by something, my eyes go really wide and I get an almost giddy look on my face, or so I’ve been told.  I have a hard time keeping a poker face.

Common enough I suppose, but more often than not I’m pleasantly amused, not exaggerating.  Inside it’s more of a consideration, an inhale to take in the scene, that sort of thing.  Or so I tell myself.

In front of us was a sheer drop into an old river ravine, overgrown on both sides by thick, leafy plants and grass.  Even with the evening light, I couldn’t see to the very bottom as we leaned over far as we dared.  That was all beside the main feature of the place, which was an immense tree trunk, spanning what looked like an impossibly long stretch of the ravine, rubbed free of bark, and completely hollow, end to end.  It looked pretty much like its namesake.

Now, like most people with selective vertigo I can climb up a mountain, go on a fair ride, walk along a high cliff, but as soon as I’m next to a sheer drop like the edge of a tall building, my insides drop out and most of my faculties recoil in terror.

Which led me to the inevitable: Okay, how do we do this?

Well, Roberto drawled, the kids around here like to see how fast they can run across the top, some stop in the middle and try to jump or dance and then come back.  But that is for the children, no?

He motioned to Jorge with his head, smiling as he did so.

Jorge dropped his board, straightened his messy t-shirt, stepped back, then ran forward, squeezed into the wooden tube, and crawled at an impressive speed, his body a dark blot moving slowly down against the light of the tunnel.

No skateboarding (I said in English before the rest), too bad.

Just wait, Senor, said Roberto.

Sitting high above the craggy divide, Jorge stopped more or less halfway down the old trunk, and stuck some fingers up through an old knothole, signaling.

Roberto clapped me on the shoulder and clambered up on the thing.  Looking at it, I had to wonder where in the hells it had come from, since nothing looked so big around here.  Also, the amount of boredom or emergency it would take to put this crossing here.

Jogging haphazard (but always in control) and then stopping about halfway, Roberto looked back, made an ‘okay’ symbol with his hand.  Then a small hand popped out of another, bigger hole near his feet.

The teen jumped, not high, but far enough, moving just a short ways farther down.  Some fingers tried to nab the back of his sneaker as he went, then another hand jutted out, grabbing away.  Roberto danced like that, staying in the middle as the younger boy tried to trip him up.

You do this too? I asked Santy.

Sometimes, he shrugged.  Not for long.  Not as long as Roberto, but even he can’t beat mi hermano.

On the log, it looked like Roberto might slip, but after a few more seconds, he dropped down, wrapped his legs around the bulk and tapped on the wood, drumming out a beat.

Well then stranger, he yelled.  Can you handle it?  Or do you want to make it a challenge.

I said we may as well make it worth it.

Part 46

Jorge and Santy (Santiago), as they told me later, took a minute to look back and forth, deliberating without words, until they shrugged, Jorge straightened his cap and told me to keep up.

I should have been a bit more concerned, considering I had places to be, not to mention the not small sum I had on me. At any rate, we rattled down from the cementerio, past the few shops and downtown buildings, out to one of the neighbourhoods nearby. Santy rolled up to a small, yellow house with a small tree sheltering the yard and said to wait as he ran up and did a signal-knock that friends tend to come up with.

Jorge stood, slowly turning his board about, half-smiling at me.

Soon, an older boy appeared in the doorway, pulling on a shirt with what looked like an Etnies logo plastered all over it. He was followed by a woman (who I assumed was a relative), asking him questions rapid-fire. He kept saying: not long, it won’t take long, what do you want Jorge. The boy pointed out the street and all three stared.

I stared back, waved and said hola, and continued to stare because the woman turned out to be probably a hair shy of stupidly gorgeous.

Who is that? She said. Roberto, no! You can’t run off to go to your little boy’s spot every time they come by. And taking a strange man with you. Ni a palos!

Most of the sound had turned to dull ocean roar for me, even as I pried my eyes away and told myself not to be an idiot, because for some reason testy women do something to me. Especially one with waves and waves of dark, long hair, and you know what, I’ll spare you.

Roberto kissed her on the cheek, grabbed a deck from inside, came down the steps, and jogged up to me. Hey man, Americano? You want to see something crazy, yeah? Loco?

Canadiano, I said. And si, a little loco.

He gave me a look and spat to the side. Dias dollaros. American.

I lifted the now-wearying bag up on my shoulders and made an exaggerated effort of taking out my wallet and picking through it.

Trato, I said.

Shrugging, he hopped on his board and said, keep up.

I nearly didn’t, but fifteen minutes or so later, I huffed and puffed past the edge of town, where the boys had stopped, run out of pavement. They motioned to a field past a ditch, where we ducked between the barbed wire. There was a trail leading to a stand of trees a short run away, and past that a brief and rocky climb to what looked like the highest point around.

And of course, el cigarro.

Part 45

I imagine that for most, cemeteries are sad, lonely places full of mourners or solo people struck by remembrance. Either that or the horror show variety, from the Hammer and Corman films; old gothic tales of English churchyards where the dead come back. They’re neither for me.

Sure, they can be solemn, empty, or dotted with well-wishers, but my memories of those places (speaking of ubiquity) come from my mother’s father tending to his small Albertan town cemetery.

As visiting kids we would drive the side dirt road out of town so long as it wasn’t winter, and keep him company as he mowed, trimmed, cleaned, repaired the things that all these places need to avoid falling into nothing. Something to keep the graves neat and remembered and a place where those that chose to be put there could enjoy (at least figuratively).

It was a quiet, relaxing time, if not full of kiddish amusement and running around and staving off boredom. There was the time that my mother found me near a child’s grave, who had been around the same age, on the anniversary of his death, which made her reaction was priceless. Being yanked away suddenly wasn’t as fun, however.

The cementerio de Azul seemed to fit the same sort of idea of rural small-town resting place. Everything was similar, except for the outright German expressionist style statue and architecture at the entrance, all hard angles and European sensibilities. Strong, hard lines that felt like it would be more at home in a British Museum For Victory (if there is such a place?) than a municipal grounds like this. Still, it was an amazing find.

There were a few visitors left by the time I arrived. I debated walking down the rows or not with my heavy bags and patchwork Brazilian tan, a stranger but hopefully not an intruder.

Offset from the looming gaze of the statue were some park benches, which I set down on and finished my soda, watching as the sun passed through early evening. There was that chill again, and I sneezed, feeling the telltale thickness at back of my throat, roof of my mouth.

Quite a few people had flowers, most of them ignoring me or pretending to. Two kids, thirteen or fourteen, rolled by on well-worn skateboards and made some half-hearted attempts at tricking off the scenery, even if it wasn’t built for that.

They lingered, one of them trying to catch his friend grinding with a crappy phone camera. I asked if I could help and they said no, just stay out of the shot.

I sat a bit, watching them and the beauty that is skater tenacity, and then asked after a while: what’s there to do for fun around here?

They stopped, one snorting, one turning a ball cap around on his head, absentmindedly leaning on his board, spinning it in circles.

No mucho, said ball cap.

You’re a gringo, said the snorting kid with the camera. What kind of stuff do you want to do? He said this mostly in English. At least I hope so, since slang everywhere is like a playful slap in the mouth.

Well, there’s el cigarro… started ball cap.

Don’t tell him about that! Said his friend. Gringo won’t be able to. He’s got all his stuff with him.

I hitched up my pack and said, show me.