(Ciudad tras las dunas - Catalina Zúñiga)

(Ciudad tras las dunas - Catalina Zúñiga)


By Raúl Harper

Translate: Adolfo Villafuerte

(Versión en español)

No way that this is a personal choice, taking the day off to think of white. I could think of red, blue or even some kind of fluorescent green; but tradition states that, when you need to relax, you must think of white. At first I took Hatha Yoga classes twice a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays, but its magical effect on me was such, that within a few months I was practicing on a daily basis.

As a complement to my Yoga routine, I set Sundays aside to engage in domestic meditation sessions, to think of white. I sat in the lotus position, in the middle of the living room, which was gradually losing its furniture, until only a few pillows and the floor lamp were left. The first attempts to blank my mind were pretty unsuccessful, since the fact alone of telling myself that I shouldn’t think about anything was a thought in itself. I also used to fall asleep and have weird dreams. In one, I found myself in a desert in which, besides some dunes, I could only see a herd of camels. No human beings were with the herd, for which I thought, —one always has these kind of silly thoughts in dreams— that the camels were trained, like messenger doves are, or that they were driven by remote control. So there I was, in the middle of the desert, putting my arm out, hitchhiking.

The herd stopped and one of the camels asked:

—Where are you going?

—To the pyramids, I guess. —The truth is I had no clue, but it seemed like a logical answer.

—There are no pyramids in the Guajira desert.

—Then I’m going to Riohacha, or to the carbon mines.

—We would gladly give you a ride, but there are no camels in the Guajira desert.

And the herd moved on.

A damn dead end dream.

I decided to complement one of my Sunday sessions with a 24 hour fast. Only water with a few drops of lemon. The combination of these factors must’ve helped my objective, since all of the sudden I found myself in a trance. It must’ve been the much anticipated white trance, but since my eyes were closed it seemed more like I was thinking of black. It went on for three minutes in which I had not a single thought, none at all; until an unexpected voice burst in:

«Do not allow for the exterior world to become your inner world»

The voice sounded familiar, although I couldn’t quite recognize it. I found myself in white color again, only to fall completely asleep. Shit! Another freaky dream.

I found myself in the middle of the North Pole. All snow, so white… how enviable. This must be the closest thing to thinking of white one can get, I reckoned. Something that drew my attention was that in spite of having only a t-shirt and a jean on, I wasn’t cold. In the distance I saw the same herd of camels from the other dream. Again, I held my arm out, to hitchhike. The herd stopped and one of the camels asked:

—Where are you going?

—I don’t know —I replied. And I was being honest, since unlike a desert where I could look for the pyramids, an oasis, or Riohacha, I couldn’t think of anything in the North Pole.

—I see that you have followed my advice.

I stared at the camel, flabbergasted. He then added:

—Do not allow for the exterior world to become your inner world. —I recognized the voice. —It’s cold outside, but you keep yourself warm wearing no more than jean and a t-shirt.

—I would still rather be in the Sahara or Copacabana beach. Can you guys take me there?

—We would gladly do so, but there are no camels in the North Pole.

And the herd moved on.

I stared at the camels, moving away until they fused themselves with the nothingness in the horizon; unworried and obtuse. Being a camel is thinking of white, I reckoned.


No part of this text may be used  or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. All rights reserved. ©Raúl Harper, 2009