As I walk to and fro on the face of the earth, alone in those vast and desolate landscapes, the people, places and things I encounter shuffle the orderly deck of reality. They accomplish this by converting the abnormal into the norm. I move through the high paramos of the Andes with one expectation, discovery. I’m never denied in my quests and that afternoon was no different.
Unexpectedly experiencing the art of others, in places often unfamiliar, is really exciting. The grey bleakness of the talisman was offset by tiny splashes of rouge and coppery greens created by miniature lichens and mosses. They appeared as patches on the upward thrusting stone boss. The talisman itself rested on a separate stone display base. Its lanyard hole or “eye” leered at the matching grey skies.
Its dark mouth was frozen in a cry that clearly emanated from a stony soul. The humped nose was reminiscent of a turtle’s as it would be seen gathering air from a quick trip to the surface. But that projected brow above the eye, it was the most disarming as it hinted that peoples from milline past were the sculptors of the talisman.
Had they created it in their image? And then suspended it from the necks of giants using the eye hole for a lanyard woven from paramos?
Or was it intended to rest on its stone pillow, a monument to the creator’s deities? Thoughts of statuary at Easter Island are invoked. The stone head does face toward the sea, toward Naranjal.
Or perhaps, the artist’s work at hand is that of a woman. Yes, she may have made it so, made it this way. Earth Mother, Pacha Mama, Mother Nature may have torn the earth asunder with her strong hands squeezing the talisman into shape with the power of a single fist. You can see there are other creations along the hillsides that could have been her work.
It’s sometimes hard to define reality. Particularly when you seem to be surrounded by the abnormal. It’s taken a long time for me to realize it, to understand. Reality is no longer defined by a single point, the world is composed of many separate realities. From some of these, stories spring forth. This is one of those.