Desert Life

July is gone… Yesterday, when I got back home from an exhausting day outside London, I realised that the calendar I have in my room was still showing the already passed weeks of July. Late as it was, I decided to turn the page and have a look at the “future”. Yes, you’re right, the first week of August has passed me by, but hey…
The picture that I saw in the glossy paper of the calendar was a marvellous view of the Coahuila desert. Interesting patterns can be seen in the sand and the few plants pictured show how sporadic the rain is. The hardness of the place was so clear. All this just made me compare life to a desert. Let me explain myself a bit more.
When you’re in the middle of a desert, a first glance makes you think that there isn’t anyone around. It is certaily a rather lonely place. However, the odd oasis can be found and the richness of the desert is discovered little by little.
Strange as it may sound, I saw myself like a snake, whose natural habitat consists of the aridity of the surroundings. From time to time it is necessary to cast off one’s skin and take advantage of the new shiny one. At the beginning it might be terribly difficult to get used to it, of course you’ll be more vulnerable. But at the end of the day, it will get worn and everything will be fine.
The place is habitable, but you have to remember that you’re the only one that cares about you. Everyone out there is quite busy trying to find a suitable way to survive, and hardly anyone is interested in how things are going for you. Once you have finally found a shelter from the heat and glare of sunlight, it’s much easier to endure being there. You’ll feel protected and would like that feeling to last forever. Impossible! In words of Nezahualcóyotl, a poet emperor of the Aztecs:

Niqitoa ni Nezahualcóyotl:

¿Cuix oc nelli nemohua in tlalticpac?
An nochipa tlalticpac:
zan achica ya nican.
Tel ca chalchihuitl no xamani,
no teocuitlatl in tlapani,
no quetzalli poztequi.
An nochipa tlalticpac:
zan achica ye nican.

Yo Nezahualcóyotl lo pregunto:
¿Acaso deveras se vive con raíz en la tierra?
No para siempre en la tierra:
sólo un poco aquí.
Aunque sea de jade se quiebra,
aunque sea de oro se rompe,
aunque sea plumaje de quetzal se desgarra.
No para siempre en la tierra:
sólo un poco aquí.

I, Nezahualcóyotl, ask:
Does one truly live on earth?
Not forever on earth: only a little while here.
Although it may be jade, it cracks,
Although it may be gold, it breaks,
Although it may be quetzal feather, it tears.
Not forever on earth: only a little while here.

Nezahaulcóyotl (1402-1472)

And again, back to yesterday night, with these thoughts wriggling in my mind, and August running away, I just decided to turn off the light and get some sleep.

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