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What is there to be discovered in days of leisure in Patagonia Remota

Thousands of red and yellow shades
in the native forest in autumn,
the skin hair of the guanacos glittering
in the evening sun,
a hand or some misterious lines
painted on the rock of a cave,
the tidiness of some stones or trunks
signs of life in a vast scenery,
the painted bodies of the Onas in their initiation rite,
where the idea of Cuerpos Pintados originated,
the end feathers in the wing of the condor,
allowing it unparalleled gliding,
the multicoloured tin in the ?puestos?,
home of solitary shepherds and farmers,
painted tin homes in Puerto Natales,
spontaneous signs in any remote place,
the winding line of endless roads,
of fences that disappear in the fields,
the deep eye of the puma,
or the painted eye, for the celebration of the yamana,
and the canoe in which they sailed, carved from a trunk,
the guanaco?s hide, that was home and dress for the ona,
the photo of father D?Agostini on a prominent summit,
the blue coloured ice of the glaciers,
the light-emerald colour of lake Pehoe
darker in lake Nordenskhold,
and stone-blue in Laguna Amarga,
lenga trees, pruned or bent by the wind,
bonsai forests in the Quebrada de la Feria
or in the Antonio Varas peninsula,
the dry skull of a cow nailed somewhere,
a shepherd, his horse, his implements and his dogs,
and their small homes lined up one beside the other one
close to the sheep-farm houses,
the corrals, the farmyards,
the great barns of Puerto Bories
covered in separated wooden bars
so the wind may get in and dry the hides.Fishermen?s boats sheltered in Puerto Natales,
wild geese in double-coloured pairs,
the rough and windy seas of the most famous strait
that Magellan discovered in 1520,
Cape Horn, the end-of-the-world island,
an ancient ship crossing it on sail,
Shackleton?s Endurance,
beset by the pack ice near Antarctica
a photograph of the Yelcho expedition,
going to rescue his men in Elephant Island,
in the powerful Drake?s Sea,
photos of the last onas in Yendegaia, Beagle channel,
and then in Hacienda Haberton, in Usuaia.The voyage of the Beagle, in command of captain Fitzroy
to draft the first navigation charts of the south of America,
naturalist Charles Darwin who traded three young Yamana men
for a button, a basket and a bit more,
to take them back to England and prove he could educate them
because they were human beings too,
(still a matter of controversy in Europe at the time)
and introduced them to King George.The immensity of the feeling of immensity,
which allows only a glimpse,
of what true immensity may be,
of which we know nothing else.The loneliness of the vast landscape,
is perhaps what seduces the wanderer?s soul
and the nomadic spirit of the shepherds
who use to venture across Patagonia
to do sporadic work in sheep-farms,
where they always find room and board,
but never stay long, to avoid compromise.They asked one of them, what his profession was,
and he replied… ?to keep wandering??Every one can make a discovery
if one sees the same old things with new eyes.
Or no one would ever go to Machu Pichu,
one of the most visited travel destination in America.Maybe, because we only get to know that
which puts up some resistance,
the place where it was hard to get to,
that which we believe, somehow, that we deserve.Thus, perhaps, the myth of Patagonia,
is the myth of a remote place,
where we feel that the journey has been accomplished,
and we are delicately returned,
to what is ours, to our own garden,
not like the tennis ball bouncing off the wall,
but rather, like the swimmer who dives into the pool,
and gets in the water, which gently returns him to the surface.German del Sol
September 2005