Finally posting some of the writing I did while venturing through Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park last month. The experience is indescribable; these words are a simply an attempt to communicate moments.
The peaks rising out of the patchwork of golden prairie, astoundingly blue lakes, and unfortunately burnt forests are razor sharp. I stare at the crest of the mountain on the left that looks like a gigantic arrowhead as it rises up out of the ground in a pointy slab. I begin to think about how the indigenous people of Patagonia saw these mountains and what stories they told about their formation. The set of stark peaks appears to have split apart. I imagine the greek god Zeus sending a lighting bolt down on the egg of rock in another fit of rage, cracking the mound open into the geometric chunks and spectacular Torres I can see. Above the multilayer rock formed by rising lava and frozen oceans a series of puffy clouds are scattered across the sky like small balls of lamb’s wool recently shorn and thrown into the wind…a wind that now tickles my ears and brushes the fall grasses against my new trekking pants…a wind that helps the river along its gurgling way and ruffles the lakes with waves…a wind that mixes with our words of “cumpliendo sueños” (accomplishing dreams) and “charlas de la vida” (life talks)…a wind that whispers of unknown adventures, new challenges, and utterly stunning beauty waiting in store for our six days in Torres del Paine.
I can see the wind…but only in the water.
I watch the wind fly across the Patagonian lake in great racing gusts, sending shadows of shouting strong waves across the water and spraying fronts of vapor into the air. I can see it dancing by the sudden change in ripple direction and the almost-vicious washboard texture. I can see it playing with the white-capped crests and forcefully flattened pockets. I can see the gusts and fronts and whispers and exhales in the way the water responds.
In the water, I can see the wind.
“The wind makes everything more dramatic!”
Freshman year of college my best friend’s eyes are shining as she explains why she enjoys the wind whipping her hair into knots on the quad. At the time I didn’t understand.
in Torres del Paine
in the Valle del Frances
with wind so strong I can barely stay on my feet…
Tilting my head back to look up at the glacier-coated mountain peaks with the wind teasing my hair, coaxing tears from my eyes, and trying to push me off balance, I laugh. The life-affirming giggle mixes with the snow-smoke the wind is pulling off the sharp white crests above me to combine with the ever-changing and re-forming effervescent clouds.
Later, sitting on a sun warmed rock at Mirador Britanico I twist my body around and upside-down to take in the 360 degree view of granite slabs poking from the earth in a plethora of shapes and forms and colors. It is breathtaking. In front of me rounded pillars of granite rise up, to my side a strangely perfectly angled edge rises from the valley floor to meet the mountain side, and behind me the great blocks of rock that look as though they split apart as they rose from the ground tower above me.
I feel small surrounded by such ancient power. The wind’s push and pull at my body reminds me of how the same gusts formed this soul-filling place and I breathe; I breathe in the peace of the impartial forces of nature, I breathe in the unassuming beauty, and I breathe in the drama of the wind.