To mark the end of a strainful year, I wanted to go somewhere where I didn’t have to take in information like a worker at an assembly line anymore; a place where I wouldn’t constantly be inhabited with the fear of missing out on some key fact. A journey is not solely defined by the time spent “on site”.
The time prior to the travel is part of the travel itself.
Still, I’m more into the after.
The Importance of Memory
Memory becomes blurrier and gives way to an amplification of the trip as an experience. With time, we construct a personal mythology, a fantasy of some sort, making each journey unique, however common they might have actually been. Spending a long time in a definite place, or attempting a trip that deprives me of known references, I feel as if given more space, and thus a chance for both my physical and mental trip to come together.
There, at four thousand meters high, as we were slowly ascending through mountains and passes, crossing a river, I could not hear any of the noises that regulate my everyday life as a city person. There was a very limited amount of sounds, all of very different nature.
Yet the silence was not empty. The whole time I had a feeling of absent presence I hadn’t experienced before.
Sound was not a sign that time was ticking; it was an emission of space being alive, and seemed thick, as if it could be touched. It indicated movement, confirmed or announced life, testified of the density of this land. It was the sound of the wind which led us into the arms of a storm. It would keep us wet and shivering till nightfall. Once or twice, we crossed paths with a herd of semi-wild horses running at full speed in a darkened, foggy, and wet valley that must have been a dazzling green just a few hours before. Along with the occasional birds of prey, they were our only company. I was in a realm of space where land had its own life, indifferent to human presence. As our feet touched and left the ground, we were already forgotten. Being there only mattered to us.
Photography and words. Céline Meunier
Map. Ángela Palacios