The Transposed You

Araucania and Auracania are different places distinguished only by that transposed U - the fourth letter becomes the second and we, that is you and I, are in another place. One is a simple act of colonial appropriation, the clayey waters or the rebel indigenes become a sign of the land in which we live, which is then used to name a province of a modern state, Chile, a tree that grows there and even a fictional kingdom that continues its notional existence alongside its also partly real, partly notional adjoining territory of Patagonia, a word of disputed etymology that may mean Big Foot or Big Feet; while the Chankas of Peru, enemies of the Inca at the same time as the Mapuche, are said to have been seven feet tall and to have had red hair. (A curious rumour: that all red-haired people, wheresoever they may be found, preserve in their lineage genes of the Neanderthals.) The derivation of Auracania is equally uncertain: aura from the Greek for breeze or breath? Latin, auris, ear? Or should we be recalling aurum, gold? What to do with the phantom K? I'm an amateur here, without credentials, but a subtle emanation or aroma, a distinctive atmosphere diffused by or attending a person or place is persuasive. Auracania as a country of the breath, a visible light surrounding a living thing, unbounded by space or time ... that is what I saw or seemed to see that desolate evening in Allman Park when the one I expected did not come. And now I think of Los Desaparecidos, whose stories remain for the most part untold:

Fell evening as the wind / scythes at your skin / on this far away shore / and bare corner of the world // where you wait on the steps / tap-tapping through the streets / of your lover who walks / the liquid arc of your eye // like a shadow on a stone / like the wind over bones / or the hulked emptiness / given out as a cry // when the corner is turned / and the one who was awaited / disappears in the absence / of the one who has waited ...

Well, perhaps. More likely this country of the breath can come back, does return and will continue to do so. The eternal recurrence of all things. Even the Neanderthals with their flowery memorials, their prehistoric rage, their grand passion that survives as a relict wherever we, that is you and I, find ourselves haunted by a place beyond the actual place where we are or seem to be. Whenever that old world, bone of our bone, blood of our blood, wakes within us. And we see forgotten things, of which we - you and I - are certainly two. Then we go home and this home calls and can be called ... Auracania.

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