Thursday, December 22, 2016

bridge to nowhere

Rather than fight holiday drivers in town, I drove across the island of Chiloé to the national park to see the famous El Muelle de las Almas: the pier or dock of the souls.

The scenery reminded me of the Drake's Estero part of Point Reyes. Or perhaps of Golden Bay, New Zealand.


Pretty churches. Random swans.

I also did exactly what my grandmother always warned me not to do: I picked up a couple of hitchhikers on the gravel road inside the park.
Angel and Valentina were visiting from Temuco and camping. They were great company for what turned out to be a longer trek than expected.
Just when we thought we'd climbed the last hill, there would be another. It was unexpectedly steep in places but serene and unspoiled.
 Lambs clung to the steep hillsides.
 And then finally, it came into sight.
Marcelo Orellana is a scultptor from Santiago. Patricio, my host in Chiloé even has one of his pieces in the gorgeous room where I'm staying.
 His work reminds me of Andy Goldsworthy. I love his Cathedral Spire in the Presidio at home. 

We took the requisite selfies. The little boys in the family hiking ahead of us ran down to the gate and nearly fell into the ocean. Their parents were remarkably tranquilo. On the way back, I persuaded the youngest, crying, to dame los cinco. (Give me five.)

At Cape Reinga on the northern tip of New Zealand, the Maori believe the souls of the departed fly north, past the lighthouse, back to the Polynesian home of their ancestors. Chiloé's myths from the native Mapuche people involve whales disguised as women but are similar.
 Getting ready to fly away…
Chiloé is a unique part of the country. I hope they never build that bridge to connect it to mainland Chile.

I wish I could tell you why there's a chartreuse dome in the middle of the park, with horses nearby. But that would take all the mystery away.
Where do our souls go when we die? I hope it is somewhere like Chile.