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Your Seeds Source...
The poetry of searching for plants...
Since the first day when I set foot on the desert plains of the Altiplano, the steep trails of the Central Zone mountains, the ever-wet Patagonian swamps, I fell in love on first sight and forever with these landscapes from a different world, inhumane, majestic, cruel, infinite, where the time and space loose their significance and disappear… In fact, no words can describe correctly this beauty, in the same way as there are no words to describe God…
I would say that one does not have to be a mountaineer to become a mountain lover. Although at first I started out exactly like this – I began climbing Central Zone peaks, like La Leonera, El Plomo (5424 m), than Lascar and similar medium-elevation (yes, in Chile that medium!) mountains. Then I did I course of ice-climbing. And then I understood one important thing – conquering the mountains gives you a feeling of deep satisfaction, a feeling often superhuman, when one finally makes the last step to reach the peak after hours and days of endless fight against oneself, battered by the freezing gale, under a cosmic dark blue-black sky, and landscapes from Moon or Mars, one feels as if one were the master of the universe, almost god. But this feeling in a sense is egoistic and fleeting, because in the end one conquers oneself, not the mountain. The mountain is still there, indifferent, a step-stone to the God.
The mountains exist on their own, independent; they do not care whether someone climbs them or not, whether some one dies on their slopes or comes back alive (by the way, the instructor of my ice-climbing course got killed later). But they represent a link between the earthly and the divine, they are a small window opened to another world for the chosen few who know how to appreciate that. These images here and in the Image Gallery are exactly this reflection of their most sacred and intimate nature, and I hope that my small contribution will make more people visit them.
We are but a fleeting shadow in this world...
...an ephemeral reflection on the eternal background of the mountains
Well, what was said before may leave you with an aftertaste of poetry… but in reality the Chilean mountains are a sacred place which, in addition to that, are home to a great number of endemic plants, a kind of thin layer between the earth and the heaven, between here and there. The photo of our homepage with Araucarias at the limit of the vegetation line on a barren volcanic slope is the best representation of this idea, of the blending between the mountains, plants, sky, and time.
The plants which live in the high bastions of the Andes, on the dusty slopes of the volcanoes in the south, in the ravines and dry mountains of the coastal cordillera, in the Altiplano in the north, near glacier lakes in the center, day after day accumulate this cosmic energy and convert it into the seeds – carriers of the genetic memory of millions of years which are a reflection of all these wonderful landscapes, the violent springs with snow thawing, the hot summers, the dreary, rainy autumns, the memory of hibernating under several meters of snow and the memory of being reborn each new spring…
And one should not think that the Andes mountains affect only the plants which live in them; ALL of the Chilean plants are product of the Andes, even if they are growing in the most flat locations at the seaside: the mountains protected these species from mixing with other species from the other side of the barrier, they created special climates, they created rivers, swamps, high precipitations, the absolute desert, the fog desert enclaves along the northern coast… the Andes are the true creators of the Chilean flora.
We hope that we can awake the interest for the Chilean plants, endemic and native, not only as something decorative and beautiful, but as a part and a reflection of this mountain world. And if you can obtain these seeds and successfully convert them into plants, these plants are going to be much more than mere Salpiglossias, Sisyrinchiums, Rhodophialas, Nothofaguses, Lapagerias, Araucarias... these plants will be the silent witnesses of the past of the South American continent; some of these seeds come from trees that can not be even called Chilean – some trees from which we collect seeds, as is the case with the Araucarias, predate even the arrival of the Europeans to a place called Chile today. And that is without mentioning the genetic memory of the seeds, where the Chilean period does not represent even 0.1 % of the time during which these plants accumulated and synthesized the essence of the Andes Mountains.
The seeds of the native Chilean plants are these collective memory grains of places and times long gone by.