"That was one of the main things that kept me from thinking of deserting when I first got to the mountains. It's a terrible shock to be suddenly plopped into that environment, especially when you're not prepared for it physically or mentally."
"You can't see in the mountains. Everything is dark at first, until gradually you start seeing like a cat. You start to differentiate among the dark shapes to make out the lay of the land. But at first it all looked the same."
"I never did figure out if I loved the mountains or not. Because it hurt me to leave them. But I also hated them; I came to hate the mountains. But I loved them too--who knew what the [heck] was going on inside of me."
"I remembered the railroad in Leon, when I took the train for the first time, and the thought of the train also brought back my childhood; coming down from the mountains in the truck was a continual coming and going over my own past, with the velocity, the agility, of a monkey ... That was how you went from your childhood to the mountains, from the mountains to the city, and so on--in a rapid-fire juggling, a sort of mental trapeze act over little bits of your life--going farther and farther back in time."
"Before entering the mountains I had no assessment of either the jungle or the forest, no conception of what the mountain really meant. So I went to bed with that standard beside me; I kept it always with me; I folded it neatly and put it under my head like a pillow, and went to sleep."
"Before long you quit listening for the noise of cars, or of bicycles, or television or radios, or for the shouts of kids hawking newspapers or Chiclets. You quit listening for that typical city tone in the cries of the kids. You no longer see movie houses, or billboards for films. And you keep going; no electric light. And on. Then no more colors, nothing but green; no colors but what people are wearing, and even those colors are starting to fade. You end up color blind."
"That night in the safe house in Leon a flood of sensations overwhelmed me; one of the things I felt most intensely was the sense of the absurd. Distances in the mountains are measured in time: eight days, let's say, or seven days, or a month. It was a minimum of three hours to get from one place to the next, right?"
"My God, I thought, the dialectic has stopped! As if the whole year I had been away was just one second, see? I didn't know if I had really lived it, if I had really been in the mountains, if I had really lived all those days, one after the other, until finally I had come back here. Or if, in fact, I had never been anywhere at all."
quotes from "The Mountain is More than a Wide Expanse of Green" (1982) by Omar Cabezas.