Amazonas II 68 x 60" 2002
Arriving at the gate at Miami International I find an eclectic mix of Bolivian businessmen, adventure travelers and eclipse chasers: we are all headed down to La Paz on the midnight flight, and there is an odd feeling of privilege and of being somewhat removed from the quotidian norm in joining this particular group of passengers. The feeling only intensifies as the 757 takes off into the clear, full moon night. As we enter the South American airspace over Cartagena, the darkened landscape below is festive with the circus glitter of cities and towns radiating out into the night. Flying on for three hours towards morning, the lights diminish until, over what must now be the Peruvian Amazon, they twinkle out altogether; the only thing visible in the indigo void is the serpentine shine of occasional rivers, flashing moonlight as they slither through the forest 37,000 feet below.

The hours pass in darkness: besides the burnished waterways, there is only the rare glimmer of a riverside hamlet, a dim hint of human presence in this otherwise overwhelming wilderness. The universe looms infinitely above, and if I am not imagining it, I see a meteor fizzle out in the distant skyscape below our rarified altitude. The whine of the engines soothes me towards sleep; near four a.m. I take my eyes from the window and the night and close them briefly, till dawn defines the Andes rising towards us out of this endless expanse.

in the Andes

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