800 – 1200 A.D
Seeking the face of the past, we begin a journey through the most beautiful landscapes of the world, through the snow-covered peaks where the mountain I lowers grow and where the center of the world is located, on the palm-covered hillsides which form part of the mountains which reach to the heavens. On these same hillsides, there are trees whose trunks can be circled by twenty men holding hands. There are trees with yellow, sac and pink flowers; there are dream cities at the foot blue mountains rimmed with stone. There are also marshy cities and houses in trees. We heard concerts or sweet and melancholy trills, we heard the tropical tinder, cries and long laments, trills of love calls and shrieks of terror with loud laughter.
We trembled with fear when the jaguars appeared with their hoarse, profound, deafening roars, echoes of myth; all around us the flying snakes whistled and hers rustled across dry leaves on the ground. We crossed tormented rivers and dream-like streams in which the Indian damsels purified themselves before their initiation into the mysteries of life.
We crossed the land of the bamboo, where a tranquil, philosophic, rested man contemplated his cosmogony with emblematic and symbolic spirals held in his hands; on his head were some of the finest jewels in America. We also reached the great solitudes of the Calima men without awakening the feathered snakes, which covered everything with their rings, knots and triangles.
We saw everything covered with gold and impenetrable masks, magic and awful, a single face. We were present at the rites of enlightenment and heard the sound of the ritual maracas as we entered into the mangroves and the reeds where the man of clay lived. Smiling and happy, he spoke to us of life and of the migrations, fleeing despotism and human sacrifice in the country of the pyramids where man lived on corn and in which the gods and man were corrupted.
Later, we went to the high peaks and plains, where all is peace and harmony, where the deer and the monkeys do not break the peace of the black soil because they were captured by art and are mute, silent, sleeping twenty or thirty meters below, accompanying men in their last repose. In this land we heard the sweet accents of the flute and the tinkling of gold plates and the music of the patrols.
We went to Cauca and we found men dressed as birds, enveloped in permanently plumed rituals; we continued through the hills where the silence of death guards palaces carved in stone and where we could not see the face of man because it was faithfully and jealously guarded by serpents. We later entered the land of the stone men, dressed in myth, where man lives for that which is beyond life and where the terrible masks kept us from staying to converse with men; who, resigned and peaceful, carried out their rites, threatened by the violent jaguar and by the sleepy but vigilant crocodile.
We descended to the great plains embraced by the sun, where for many centuries, there lived geometric, planimetric and bat-like men; there, we found answers to our mythical and philosophical concerns and we were filled with surprise at their art power of creation. In this territory we once again found the great river, the Hulluco or Yuma. We also found again the high peaks and the high plains where the clouds reign, with the phenomena of light and the rainbow. We climbed these peaks to find an immense lake, inhabited by thousands of birds and reeds which Bochica -the myth of the Sun was able to dry with earthquakes produced by his magic cane. This is the territory of the morale and the myrtle, where time wove fine blankets painted with frogs, sun circles, serpent rhombii with blues and magentas, with the pinks of Boyaca and parrot-greens. They were eaten by time. We were in lands covered by corn, where a prince, covered himself with gold and went to speak with the gods who lived in aquatic palaces. “This great prince, Ell Dorado, goes about covered with finely-powdered gold, like the sun in powder. Any other clothing would seem less beautiful. . .” (Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo).
In this manner, we have reached the craggy ground where the birds sing and where since time immemorial, cries of individualism, liberty and madness are heard, dispersed by the nuptial flight of the big-bottomed ant, the preferred morsel of these men. Here, words and bodies and ideas are rigid; the faces have the infrangibility of masks. We could not find an ancient face because the conquistador, envious of its beauty, destroyed it.
Now we have arrived in an amphibious world, where the Yuma flows. We are in the region of the lower Magdalena, where the crocodile man and the Malibu tiger lived; in this region, there lives a man whose ancestors are of three different races, who is surprisingly vital, happy and enchanting, whose philosophy is that of “pulling peoples legs”. He seeks some escape from the general feeling of being bothered. Among the mangos and the coconut trees, we hear the noises of the canaries and the flapping wings of water birds. Here live the men of the swamps, the black waters and the rivers.