My experience of Pabellon took place late in the afternoon on Friday 13th, 2015.
I have traveled enough to have developed a sense of particular geographies and the way that Humans relate to those geographies. Humans can, do, and have adapted (developed means to survive in) to conditions present in harsh as well as idyllic environments.
It is my experience that Humans who live in idyllic environments don’t know how good they have it… and conversely… Humans who live in difficult, ugly, or harsh environments often do not know how (comparatively) bad they have it. That has to do with adaptation… and with not having experience from which to compare.
Biologists study and point out various strategies that plants, animals… including Humans, and other Life forms use to survive and adapt to different environments. Biologists know that it is the conditions that exist in a particular environment that cause living creatures to behave differently from one another.
Buckminster Fuller pointed out that Humans seem to be a creature that has the ability to alter it’s own environment more drastically than any other creature. That would indicate that Humans have the ability to ‘control/alter’ their own rate, state or direction of their own ‘development’… perhaps more so than any other (known) creature.
There are (environments) places, experiences, and fellow creatures that are so ‘special’ that they defy description in language. Some ‘Naturescapes’ come close to embodying the ideal of transcendent beauty. Some places and pieces of time are so personally sacred and mystical that they can not be shared… even with another Human who may be present at the same place and time. Such was my experience of Pabellon.
It was late in the afternoon and it had just rained. There was a palpable sense of the primeval and essential that seeped into my being on this hike. The tone of the birds and the gentle sounds of water dripping from the leaves onto the forest floor caused me to deepen my appreciation for this time and place. The slant of the late afternoon sun was further diffused in the mist.
Birds and hiking sounds in the wet late afternoon cloud forest
My ankle was aching from both the Yumbilla and the Chinata hikes… Chinata earlier the same day. The trail was wet and muddy, There were several places where on a slight downhill slope my boot slid in the clay like mud. I am not ‘superstitious’, but I am affected by the stories that float around in my culture. (part of my ‘mental environment’) I was aware that it was Friday the 13th and that I was tired and in slight pain and that this was a special place. I had to keep inventing ‘best case scenarios’ while simultaneously enjoying the sense of adventure.
I had developed the habit of being ready to take a photo or video with one hand and capturing sound with the digital recorder in the other hand. Both hands were occupied with these devices. I try to capture a ‘raw’ sense of what I am experiencing to share it with the few people who look at this blog. Given my condition and the condition of the trail I soon realized that I should pay more attention to not slipping in the mud than taking audio, video or photos.
I did slip and fall while crossing a small stream where the rocks were covered in algae. My camera is waterproof. The digital recorder is not. I do keep the recorder in a plastic zip lock bag in my shirt pocket when I’m not using it. When I slipped and fell in the stream I was holding the recorder in my left hand. The recorder made contact with the water very briefly. I immediately pulled a microfiber cloth from my back pants pocket and soaked the water off. I reckoned that to be good enough for a Friday 13th experience. From then on, I was much more careful. I no longer walked carrying these devices in my hands. I would stop to take a photo or recording.
Just minutes before arriving at the waterfall there is a rock overhang where you can see people have camped beneath. There was a used campfire site under the rock. That is the last photo or video I have of this hike. The battery for the camera ran completely out of juice.
I have no photos or videos of Pabellon. Fitting, I think. Lao Tzu could have predicted it. There are some things the Tao wishes to preserve in privacy. They are mystical and sacred. They can not be ‘translated’ into photos or videos or sound files or words. Some things can only be etched into a Human soul by experiencing them. Such was Pabellon for me.
Attempting To Describe The Indescribable
Even though Mario, my guide was right there seeing and hearing the same things… he did not have my experience. It is true that this hike and place was new to me and that for Mario it was just another day in a place he had been to many times. Adaptation can sometimes cause an atrophy of ‘awareness’.
To distinguish the ‘sacred’ from the ‘profane’ one must value and hone one’s sense of awareness. It is in that awareness that arises the sense of immense gratitude for the experience of Being Alive.
If you are to enjoy Life to the fullest, take care , my friends, that you cultivate the ability to savor those rare and precious moments in your Life when you sense how very close you are to experiencing a state of TRANSCENDENCE… a glimpse into the Nature of Eternal Perfection against the background of the impermanent.
Thoughts While On The Return Hike