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Alvaro / 5-09-2012 by alvaropulpeiro
October 5, 2012, 9:57 am
Filed under: 2012-13

Luis Quinn strode around the ring, arms held high, receiving the praise of the people of Belém do Pará.

A praise that might be soon turning into wondrous prayer and, to a certain extent, alienating fear towards this once reverenced European Jesuit driven by a faith and conviction not unlike to the one the early Colón had. Many have arrived; many have sailed off upwards this all-mighty green-watered river of us; a river that was once unveiled to the Kingdom of Spain by Don Francisco de Orellana and since then it has seduced many poor souls into intrepid, quasi-lunatic voyages aimed to the heart of what has never been mapped out by royal cartographers, of an utter and immense darkness; an obscurity that transports this erratic pilgrim far beyond established morals, far beyond the God Luis Quinn, full heartedly, prays to ever since his conversion into the one and only faith.

It seems that all those praising faces are eager to touch, to posses and obtain a small relic of the about to be Amazonian wanderer. Why!? Why does this foolish desire to posses, to own, to rejoice in the glory or the misery of a man that is driven by innocent cynicism and blind belief? It may be due to the lack of amusement a-la-Portuguesa or to the inexistent historical burdens of this young city. ‘Tempo de lazer’.

These white colonial ‘brancos’ accompanied by their, loyal looking, ‘mamelucos’; red faced tupi-guaranies with rapid Europeanizing manners and Angolan slaves, brutally brought from Salvador de Bahía, all share the same perplexity towards the new comer and are equally eager to hear the fictions from the bowels of the ‘foresta amazonica’, from the land of Manoa and the lake of Panima; realities only understood as appearance, either as stolen diaries of the wealth seekers that bitterly perished out of malaria, or as the hanging frescos and stucco sculptures displayed on the Catedral de Sé.

Feverish-dreams, this may be what is being sold and bought in the Ver-o-Preço market. Those platonic pretensions and desires that initially dominated the very heart of dr. Luis Quinn will, soon, be confronted against the overwhelming power of the jungle, of a nature that brutalizes dreams, wets them so they can fall on ones head as if a sack of rocks they were.

While reflecting on this Luis Quinn, was inhabiting a castle well inside his soul, as a result he had lost sense of time and more importantly space. Once the mist dissipated, he looked up the paved slope and devised what he thought to be the languid figure of Bishop Vasco comfortably sitting on a shaded chair. Looked down, and suddenly lost balance thanks to a shoulder on shoulder contact with a passerby, which made slide from his cassocks pocket an opera libretto titled: Orlando by Geoge Frideric Handel.

Out of a reactive impulse, Bishop Vasco raised from the chair and shouted, not out of madness, but out of graceful enlightenment:‘Nature is crafty my Irish friend , seduces many, snaring and deceiving them, and always works for her own ends. But Grace moves in simplicity, avoiding every appearance of evil. She makes no attempt to deceive, and does all things purely for love of God, in whom she rests her final goal’; he calmly sat while firmly looking straight into the yon blue eyes of his soon to be protégée.

‘Some men wear their sins on their faces’, said Bishop Vasco, lolling in his chair, sweating freely despite the fringed canopy shading him from the molten sun and the work of two boy-slaves with feather fans.

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For in fact what is man in nature? A Nothing in comparison with the Infinite, an All in comparison with the Nothing, a mean between nothing and everything. Since he is infinitely removed from comprehending the extremes, the end of things and their beginning are hopelessly hidden from him in an impenetrable secret, he is equally incapable of seeing the Nothing from which he was made, and the Infinite in which he is swallowed up.

Blaise Pascal. pg45 Pensees

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The Spanish have sought, what is a great continued province, with the Kingdom of Granada, discover el Dorado and the lake or large pond of Panima that is below the equator in whose Rivera is said to be the great city of Manoa, from whom they refer, by such notable traditions, things of greatness, wealth and abundance; and in this, it has been lost as many people, finances as the Council has seen; without up to now have been found more than a few indians, who certify the Spanish, of having been in the city of Manoa and the greatness of it.

Gaspar Chillan the Irishman 1631-33 General Archive of the Indies, Sevilla

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