Notes on the trees on the way to Puerto Natales
The real way to look at a tree is up close, or slowly. I couldn't really do that at the speed we were going, though time on a bus seems immeasurable both inside and out.
The thing Vallejo, an engineer for the Chilean Army, told me about the southern Patagonia is that its ugly, flat. On the transfer from the airport to the city, a three hour ride, the land is flat with wide expanse, which gives proof to the theory of relativity. In such expanse, thick breathing space, time must wedge inside each piece of brush. That's all there is. Nodules and blips in fields give you references of distance and a small measure of time, like the bumps in history maps and timelines which look far away like a small rise of land and grass.
Bodies lean in the wind. They wear and uproot and fix themselves and stand like commuters on the 413 that's always turning left. Some, most, are missing leaves and their branches are whiter than birches and, probably, mean they're almost dead. They're not forests, just patches, but grab at the grass in long bursts and always claim their space. From my window -- sometimes trees exist only if you look at them through bus windows -- they aren't even bigger than my body. They're surrounded by the end of life and rain.
Men & women I suppose claimed land here by burning it. There are forests of them toppled, pushed over by wind or whoever. Miles of trees that lick the toenails of clouds but know they ain't gettin a drop of time. It hurts to watch them, as the bus drives and I keep thinking about brush. Some bones sprout leaves. Some bones extend outward to reach.