It’s 5.10am on the 2nd January and I’m wide awake laying in the back of our camper van at the base of Torres Del Paine. I’m warm in my sleeping bag but the air on my face is chilled, the kind of chilled that gets your attention… In fact bloody cold!
It’s not the first time I’ve been awake throughout the night but strangely I’ve not felt restless. It’s more that I’ve been awoken with intrigue as to what is happening outside the van…the Patagonian wind.
Seemingly for tens of minutes at a time there can be nothing, not a whisper, not a note. Then a rumble in the far distance accelerates towards us and the van is seemly a the will of the wind; shaken, rocked, battered. It’s weird,it’s constant. Not like a gust of wind but prolonged torrent that tests the van for minutes at a time, flicking stones and sticks at the metal keeping us safe, challenging the rubber door seals to give way and allow the wind to evade our safe haven. Overhead in the cabin giving our Christmas tinsel decorations the energy to swaying and dance to its rumbling tune.
Then as quickly as it arrived, it’s gone. No dying breath, no final word or suggestion of quieter times, just gone. There’s silence again, some times the occasional cackle of a nearby bird awakening to the dawn but otherwise a calm that you wouldn’t have thought possible seconds before. The switch turned off but minutes later it’s at it again, returning, battling to get your attention once more.