Thursday, 5 February 2015

Atacama Moments ~ Wandering Dunes.

For those in the know: Arequipa~Camana, Peru. Route 1. Date: 21st January.

The parent stone is an ochre red granite, that's corroding down to a rough dense grit. Across this immobile surface flows a soft white talc, a mobile dust that drifts easily into every bielded hollow. The effect is like old season snow, the dregs of winter hanging on in, down in the bottom of a gully, on the leewards of giant erratic boulders. Out on the open flat Pampa, this dust accumulates, moulding into a classic dune. Crafted like a first quarter moon, they creep across the plain. Spectral, ghostly nail parings, they travel, propelled by a perpetual mono-directional wind. Eventually they will disintegrate when they wash-up against the first slopes of the pre-Cordelleras. Only there's the intervening Pan-Americana Sud. A premature partial death.

The wash from the speeding traffic disintegrates the crawling dune, forming lateral drifts, that with time will require a plough to assist them to cross the road. To be dumped like waste tailings on the other side of the carriageway. Their soft graceful lines now mere dolloped lumps, traps for humanities cast-offs.

With time and wind, these desecrated spectres will be resurrected, the detritus sifted out, then they can be reformed into their former graces, able to continue their interrupted passage to the nor'east. Where they can peter out, washed out, up against the first major hillside. There to revert to being 'drifts of old season snows', yet again. Collecting in crevices, etching out in soft focus, any wrinkled crease on the desertscapes.