Guidance

      In hostile surroundings, in a place plagued by desolation, you look for a sign, for a guide, for a watchman.
You dig deep into the sky, move the earth under you feet, climb each rock, each hill. Scrutinize this hellish paradise : a corral made of centenarians stones, a cactus strain, a collapsed wall, a tree made of salt, sand and mud.
Everything is traces, traces of past lives, traces of survival, traces of abandonment. All gone with a noise of relief. Replaced by the wind. Leaving you with nowhere to hide from this constant whistle that shut yourself off.

 

You look for protection. Protection from what ? From loneliness, from yourself, from the whispers of your tired body.
The tortuous wind penetrates your veins, the sand absorbs what’s left of you. You slow down, you lose hope, drying up, fading away, taking the shape of what surrounds you, becoming shrub, becoming cactus, becoming rock, becoming dust.
And then, it’s there, the sign you were hoping for, the tap on your shoulder, the guidance.

Indians from the Puna and the Quebrada, from the high desert plateaus and the deep ravines call it Coquena. The son of Pacha Mama, Mother Earth, keeper of the animals of the countryside and the dry hills, clouds shepherd, weaver of the fog and snow, sower of storms, keeper of the glades and the woods, father of mountains, musician of rivers and streams. It protects the vicunas from the hunters firearms. A meeting with Coquena on the road may be baneful but is not necessarily synonymous with death.
If you see, in the far distance, moving, alone, Andean herds, it’s because, invisible, it is there.
There. Standing. Wise, serene, it made the wind its ally, the sand its pittance.

And there you go again, carefree, just like those wild animals, with a stealthy direction, guided by a spirit, an airstream.

Photographies et écrits publiés en décembre 2015 dans la revue PRIVATE