leandro worked out of the front room of his house which opened up onto the street. he was maybe the last tailor in town: a dying trade. he was the only place left you could buy a tailored suit. as cheap clothing poured out of china most of the local tailors had either closed their doors or been forced into the mass production of local school uniforms and other niche markets. half of leonardo's work was trying to make all these generic clothes actually fit his customer.
manzanares was the chief of police in puerto torro, the very last village as one goes south. he helped me plan the last leg of my journey down to the end of the island. there was really nothing much else to do: for the five policemen there were nine civilians. we poured over maps, he described the first days walk to the river maria (which was as far as he had gone), he helped me get tide charts from the coast guard to know the best time to try and ford the rivers, he gave me a bunch of food and then sent me off saying if i wasn't back in two weeks they would have to send out a search party, the expense of which would fall to me. we were both happy when i walked into his office with 12 hours to spare. i didn't have the money and he didn't particularly want to go out in the snow.
in northern chile some of the passes go up over 5000m (17000 ft) and the altitude sickness can be debilitating. i once spent two days on my back in the middle of nowhere with a crushing headache and nausea. i had a friend who died from the shock. the thin air makes it hard to shake the feeling of vulnerability and fragility. when the sun falls the temperature plummets and the cold penetrates everything.
chile is a skinny country and thus only one road connects north and south. its a modern, limited access superhighway with fences (especially in the urban areas) and threatening signs to keep people from walking along it. the people who had to walk anyway had cut strategic holes and worn thin trails that guided me through the web. if I missed the path the fences soon sent me back searching. this siskin sat stone still along highway 5 as the trucks roared just feet from her and as i walked up and stuck my camera in her face. she was old and blind and there was no more fear left in her: it gave her a certain dignity. the night had been cold and the rising sun on the warming asphalt was all that interested her.
while judas ate i would sit in the shade of the fallen orange tree and carve out figures. some say that the son of man died for the sins of the world. some say sins are a construct: personal and cultural; a psychological mechanism, an evolutionary strategy or in it's ugliest version, a form of control, a play for power. i think most people can agree that if there is a god he is hidden from us or we are far from him. the scientist says the problem is a lack of proof. the theist says a lack of trust. if god is a force (or is not there) then the former must be right. if god is a person it seems the latter has an interesting intuition. naturalism wants a syllogism or some inductive line which works well with superconductors and particle accelerators but less well with relationships.