It was very difficult to reach the ice. I wonder why we never thought about giving up. Getting away from there would have been the easiest thing to do; changing the adventure would have made all the sense in the world. Yet giving up was not a possibility.
During all those months travelling with my girlfriend Georgina, Latin America introduced itself as an accesible and warm land. Yet, approaching the ice was inevitable.
Throughout the centuries, Torres del Paine in Patagonia has been a place of perpetual conflict and attempts of domination. I often think about the history these lands must have lived through. I believe part of the suffering never really leaves a place that has witnessed pain. When we were there, it seemed as if the suffering was still being echoed into our present time -or so I assumed- and it felt coherent.
We had to walk through the ordinary in order to get to the extraordinary.
It took us two attempts to reach Torres del Paine. I like to divide them into the ordinary and the extraordinary. We started out following the route in its established direction, supposedly synonymous to a guarantee of greater success and security. It turned out to be the opposite. We only got a deeper understanding of concepts such as rain, snow and shattered shoes. We got to nowhere. There grew an uncomfortable silence between Georgina and myself, like a transmitter of the frustrations we weren’t able to put into words.
We tried again. As the path was O-shaped, Georgina suggested we start at the end of the path and make our way backwards. I initially thought she had lost her mind, but the steadiness in her eyes convinced me otherwise. It led us to the ice. It was one of those times we, as a couple, functioned as two opposite sides of a pole. Georgina chose risk, I chose security. In the end, boldness and caution merged into one to find a way to success. Life lesson, I thought. After four years with Georgina as my partner, it was only now I realized there were still many formulas left for us to discover.
I guess sometimes we have to try things the other way around in order to find what we seek.
When we reached the ice, emotions and tears coexisted with a deep exhaustion and numbness in our hands. The ice was immense, great, undisturbed. We were enthralled. We could only hug and take pictures. Once again, we found ourselves without words to speak. We had found the silence of the travelers. It felt real. The space was so homogeneous it almost looked smaller.
But the ice didn’t care: it would always be lord and master of these lands.
Read the following chapters, Silver and Salt on Eldorado