I waddle through the shallow waters becoming more surprised each step at how strong the current is.
"This must be a magical place," I think to myself, "what a clichéd thought".
In all honesty, I am here because I fucking stink. I smell like the rastafari who has been hazily lecturing me on the balance that "our" nature needs, the process of giving and taking, and how its "her" decision to not bring us water. I mean cool, man, but how about not bathing myself in the dark surrounded by cockroaches from the rain-gathering blue smelly plastic barrel that is our only source of water. My eyes glance excitedly to the crystal waters, the unmoving pebbles, the innocence of this water. It is always renewed, rebirthed, always nascent.
"Have I walked far enough? Am I out of sight? Fuck it."
I trot clumsily trying not to trip on stubborn pebbles. Struggling to look graceful in the strong current, struggling to reclaim the flip flop that has chosen to abandon me in embarrassment, struggling to throw my foul backpack back where it belongs whilst I lean over to capture the escaped thong. Be here now. Be in the moment. This is what it's all about, the visceral experience. I unpack the holy bottle of Pantene that cost me an unholy 20,000 COP. Slapping the water that acts as mother to all inhabitants of this town over my body, I begin to think again about what he said when a family of Kogi indigenous appear on the bank of the river. My heart jumps as I rub my hands between my legs to clean the most neglected alleys and backstreets of my body. They are just staring straight at me, and as I begin to take on their stare as a sort of challenge, I realize that this is not the game we are playing.
"How many times in your life can you say you've been observed inelegantly cleaning yourself like a baboon in shallow water whilst a beautiful Kogi family--unaware of anything about you, incapable of understanding anything you say--watches you."
Maybe this is what he means. I perform and they watch, I take and nature gives. I pour out the seeds and things grow, they grow and I breathe. It is all a matter of give and take. Suddenly humbled by this awkward experience, I splash trek back to the river bank and gather my things to head downstream. Looking back, the Kogi family pass through and carry on upwards to their home in the sierra.
God am I happy I am clean. What just happened?