I had just seen the jungle for the first time in my rotten life, centuries-old ferns everywhere, so moving. When you are in the jungle you have to remember the herds of pigs: hundreds, possibly thousands, will chase a jaguar up a tree and piss on the tree through the night until the ammonia makes the cat pass out and fall from the tree, and they eat him in a pile of hooves and spots.
As he is disintegrating, these are my old pal Tony’s last words of advice to me from his days in Nicaragua: tie your ass to the tree. Then, as we used to say, he was gone. When the dust cleared there I was, and on the horizon, there’s the tree, as if he knew all along. I hadn’t seen him since we were young turks. We were letting bygones be gone but I could see certain pains in his eyes. Some left over from when I left. When the rumbling started we were pretty drunk and we loved the band. Now I eye the tree across the border, in Nicaragua, his past, my future. I’m so wiped out from the whole experience, I don’t know what to do in this bald new vista. I wonder if I really have to head out to it, to that one tree I can see, just because it’s still there. Then I hear rumbling. Possibly aftershock. I hear the roar of what could be thousands.