The fifth letter from the jungles of Peru / catured by ININ NINI, heard from a sad man
It’s either June or July. I’d never seen my father. Never. I had been told – you don’t have a father. I was 30 years old and I went to see him. We told a little white lie by saying that we were coming to buy a painting. We got his number from a small country gallery. We drove to the middle of nowhere along overgrown country roads.
When we got to his house, everything was clear. The man who came out towards us over the green lawn, past his sheep and his wife’s flower beds, was an old grey version of – Me. The same gait, the same shoulders. When we sat down at the table, he said – excuse me if I mishear what you say, I’m a little hard of hearing. Exactly like – Me. His wife brought us home-made wine and red currants. And sweets in a little wicker basket.
How did you find out about me he asked. I looked into his eyes and said – from my mother, saying her name and surname. A silence ensued, for about a minute, an electrifying silence that buzzed and crackled playing through his life, my life, my conception, birth, pain, leaving, disappointment, forgetting, everything. My father answered – I’m sorry. I’m sorry it turned out that way, then. And then quickly added – but let’s not talk about that right now. Not while my wife is here. We talked about this an’ that, nothing much. And all the while, we all clearly knew that this woman, his wife, can feel everything, understands, and continues to bring us home-made wine. In the car on the way home, my wife and I cried and cried somewhere on those overgrown roads. Since that time, I have been able to stand on my own two feet.
Since that electrifying hour, I have seen him a few times. We have one of his sketches at home on the wall – the body of a naked woman. Bought at an exhibition in some courtyard sale in Riga. I have no condemnation, bear no resentment. Because, I have seen him. Seen him for real.
Since that time, I have started to notice something else, to observe something more important. I observe myself and my manliness. The footprints of the hurt little boy have left their mark inside me, on the way I view the world, even though consciously I believe I have understood and forgiven everything. However, in my sub-conscience, the little boy who isn’t yet 3 years old, still lives within and looks out at life – as he/she does in all of us. He has absorbed the paternal behaviour of strangers, impressions and other views of the world. He is no longer me, all that has gone and past – and yet I still see through that filter.
What is a man? What is a man like? What does he see, how does he care, how does he make love? Stays, leaves, cuddles, doesn’t cuddle, lifts up or remains on the sidelines? Who am I? It’s very interesting to start to unravel these questions when you have reached a level of consciousness when you believe that – I am free, I am alive and free, flowing. Well, it turns out that you can be fully matured, in love with the universe, have understood what you want and where you are going in the greater scheme of things. Have loved, and been loved by women. And still be at the primer level on very simple issues, on the very basic questions.
I travelled here to the Peruvian jungles, to the shamans without any particular burning questions, but with an open heart – let the most important thing come to me, let what I need the most, happen to me.
I was alone with my plants, they re-constructed me anew, I was born and formed as new. I drank the ancient times, the knowledge, the experience of the jungle from a plastic bottle, every day feeling myself grow, form. In one of the ayahuasca ceremonies it literally built me piece by piece. I had difficulty walking as my legs were twice as big, all my limbs were huge, I finally started to understand that I am twice as big as I had seen, imagined myself, lived.
When I came out of my jungle hut after the day’s ceremony, I yelled over the trees, the pineapples, stones and tree branches – I am bigger, I am twice as big, I am super-big!
I came out of my jungle hut and there in the mountain stream between the great rocks, my wife and little son were waiting for me. I saw my wife weeping, seeing me see myself in my true being. My little boy was laughing in the river chasing the insects – just like a real little boy. Like a boy who has a father, a real father who is present, who now sees and feels without a filter, a filter he and others had put up.
On top of the hill, on a great rock, sat our friend, Herbert the shaman. He stretched himself with delight and had a quiet little laugh.
And I remembered that all this time, these 30 years, paintings hung on the walls in my mother’s apartment. My father’s paintings that I recognized only when I met him face to face. As sick as it may seem, it’s quite beautiful. Because that is love, I know that even if it was for s short time, they loved. A man and a woman, who created me.
How I wish that everyone was able, or wanted to, tear down that veil that cripples the view of what we truly are. Because we are, great, capable, strong and wise.
Just twice as big as we can imagine.