Monday, 21 March 2011

Buta Billon to Bardas Blancas.

Camped high and wild, amongst the cactus, ridden the ripio down, down to an ashen grey Rio Grande, all to the sparse accompaniment of the occasional passing car. Found the tar and sailed out onto the open strath. The river removed from the constraints of it’s volcanic corset, exhales and plaits braids across the wide, flat lands. For a background we have the world’s greatest concentration of volcanic spouts. Payan Matru has been our constant companion for two days, sitting high and elegant on our eastern horizon. Last night, dressing in a thin mantle of cloud, a gauze negligee that barely preserved her modesty. Then as darkness descended, she stripped off and flew her garments like a flag in the rising night wind. An exquisite, classic near symmetrical volcanic cone, standing clear above her neighbouring siblings. Lower down, a sloping table land is softened by low vegetation and a low rising sun, that accentuates with deep shadows the numerous small volcanic eruptions. The slanting light also captures and enumerates the encampments of portacabins, the derricks of drilling rigs and the plumes of dust disturbed by servicing fuel tankers and speeding pick-up trucks. An acne of exploration among the volcanic pimples. Now we understand the bright light, that we initially took to be a star, one that never seemed to move. It was more flood-light than epiphaneal nova.